Snow, single-digit lows in Steamboat forecast

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— What would Punxsutawney Phil have to say about this? It seems like mid-January has hit Steamboat once again, with single-digit lows, snow and more than 10,000 visitors in the forecast.

According to Colorado-based forecaster Joel Gratz, of www.opensnow.com, a northwesterly flow Friday night could bring fluffy — and he repeats that word several times with delight — snow to the Steamboat area.

“This is best for Aspen and north, especially along I-70 up to Steamboat,” Gratz wrote in his Friday update. “We should see at least a few fluffy inches overnight, and it's very possible that we'll see much more than that.”

Gratz is forecasting 2 to 4 inches Friday night and 1 to 2 inches Saturday, but he readily admits it’s a conservative forecast. Steamboat Ski Area on Friday reached the 300-inch mark for total snowfall this season.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s lodging barometer anticipates about 10,300 visitors will stay in local lodging properties Saturday night filling about 69 percent of visitor pillows.

Last year at this time, Steamboat Ski Area was reporting a 48-inch base, compared with the 61-inch base reported Friday, and Steamboat lodging properties were estimated at 57 percent full with 7,500 visitors.

This weekend’s lodging forecast is similar to last weekend’s measurement, which estimated 10,300 visitors stayed in Steamboat on March 16.

All those visitors should be sure to bundle up because this is no ordinary spring skiing. Snow is expected to taper off Saturday, and high temperatures will remain in the high 20s with lows reaching zero to 2 degrees during the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Gratz said another weak system pushes through the state Sunday favoring areas east of the Continental Divide with snow showers for most of the state. The week looks mostly dry with another system possibly in line for next weekend. The Weather Service predicts temperatures in Steamboat Springs will reach into the low 40s on Tuesday.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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