Steamboat skiers pig out on holiday powder feast
December 28, 2012
By the numbers
Top December snowfall at Steamboat Ski Area:
1. 165.5 in 1983
2. 133.5 in 1989
3. 126 in 2007
4. 113.5 in 1981
5. 108 in 1996
6. 105 in 2005
7. 100 in 2008
8. 99.25 in 2012*
9. 85 in 1992
10. 78 in 2000
*As of 5 a.m. Friday
Source: Steamboat Ski Area in records dating to 1979
Steamboat Springs — Holiday skiers and snowboarders continue to enjoy an embarrassment of riches as they float through a string of powder days at Steamboat Ski Area.
Steamboat now has received 37 inches of dry snow at midmountain in five days and 99.25 inches in December. Ski area officials expected that total to crest the 100-inch mark by the end of the day Friday, but the tally won’t be official until the 5 a.m. snow report Saturday. That compares to the all-time December record of 165.5 recorded in December 1983.
Ski area spokesman Mike Lane wrote in a news release Friday that the ski area had seen 18 days of measurable snow in December and 11 days with more than 4 inches. And the snow didn't begin to fall in earnest until Dec. 9.
The National Weather Service was expecting skies to clear Saturday. After a weekend of sunshine and powder, there's more snow in the forecast late Sunday. Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, of http://www.snowalarm.com, wrote in an email that how much snow Steamboat will receive depends on whether an approaching low-pressure system closes its loop.
Before the next storm arrives, Weissbluth predicted, cold air will settle in Saturday as an inversion sets up in the valley. That means temperatures on the mountain could be warmer than they are in town, he wrote.
"The storm for Sunday night (into) Tuesday is composed of three different waves, and how they interact will determine our weather," Weissbluth wrote. "Currently, (it looks like) we will start out with light snow late Sunday as warm and moisture-rich air from the southwest overrides the valley inversions."
The storm may or may not form a closed circulation pattern, he added.
"The formation of a cutoff low would favor the southern mountains, while the absence of the cutoff low would indicate more moist and cold northwest flow for our region, which favors accumulating snowfall," he wrote.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com