November snowfall counts toward Steamboat Resort’s opening day
November 1, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs weather watcher Kate Gmeiner reported Wednesday that her weather station between downtown Steamboat Springs and Steamboat Ski Area received 3.28 inches of precipitation in October, with 14.6 inches of that accumulating as snow.
But now that November has arrived, snowfall takes on increased significance for skiers.
The National Weather Service reports "normal" October precipitation in Steamboat is 2.17 inches.
And this year, October turned the page on a dry summer. The Weather Service, using a different rain gauge location than Gmeiner's, reported just .47 inches of rain fell in June compared to the normal 1.77 inches, and July was also relatively dry with 1.02 inches compared to the normal 1.52 inches.
Gmeiner's rain gauge showed that last month got off to a very wet start with .92 inches of precipitation on Oct. 1, followed by 1.19 inches Oct. 2 and .3 inches Oct. 3.
The rainy pattern eased off until Oct 9, when .16 inches fell. Steamboat saw .53 inches on Oct. 21 and finished the month with .17 inches that fell in the 24 hours preceding Oct. 31.
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Now that November has arrived, skiers naturally begin counting snowfall with an eye toward opening day at Steamboat Resort on Nov. 22. Records kept by the ski area show that typical November snow here is 33 inches at the midway elevation on the ski area.
One of the biggest November snow patterns blanketed Mount Werner in 2005 when the ski resort received 83 inches at mid-mountain.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rates the short-term chance for above-average precipitation in the 30th percentile for the period Nov. 9 to 15 and bumps it up to the 40th percentile for the entire month.
The ski area had a limited opening day on Nov. 23, 2016, with skiers and riders riding the six-passenger Christie Peak Express to make their turns on the Sitz and Vogue trails. It wasn't until Nov. 17 last year that the ski area received a 13-inch snowstorms followed closely by ideal snowmaking weather.