Snowy forecast precedes Presidents Day weekend in Steamboat Springs

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— Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth and the National Weather Service are dialing up the perfect forecast for Presidents Day weekend, including 9 to 18 inches of new snow accumulating at the ski area between Thursday morning and Saturday morning followed by partly cloudy skies on the weekend and temperatures in the 20s.

“A quick moving ridge will yield stellar weather for the weekend before the next storm begins to affect our area by late Sunday through late Monday,” Weissbluth wrote in an email Wednesday. He manages www.snowalarm.com.

The zone forecast produced by the Weather Service in Grand Junction on Wednesday was calling for gusty winds in the high country Wednesday and Thursday nights, a factor that could redistribute the holiday weekend powder. The zone forecast focuses on the Park Range to the east of Steamboat and the Elkhead Mountains to the north.

The Weather Service also is calling for more sunshine in the valley Saturday and Sunday than it foresees for the mountains.

The Colorado Avalanche information Center still is cautioning backcountry skiers and snowboarders about the potential to trigger slides in areas where soft wind slabs persist, but it reduced its danger rating early Wednesday to moderate at all points of the compass and at all elevations.

“No avalanche activity reported recently, which suggests that persistent slabs are getting stiffer and harder to trigger," avalanche forecaster Scott Toepfer wrote in his 5:30 a.m. Wednesday report. “You may not see obvious signs of instability like cracking, collapsing or previous avalanches. Slabs may be more sensitive in localized areas, and it is easy to gain a false sense of confidence if you do not see obvious signs of instability.”

The avalanche danger in the backcountry could evolve as the next round of storms blows through the Steamboat area.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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