Snow ‘refresher’ storm heads for Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Snow ‘refresher’ storm heads for Steamboat

The snowstorm being counted on to refresh the slopes at Steamboat Resort this weekend is still in play, but it might be a little tardy.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The snowstorm being counted on to refresh the slopes at the Steamboat Ski Area this weekend is still in play, but it might be a little tardy.

"The weekend storm is still going to happen, but the latest forecasts show that it will move more slowly than we previously thought," meteorologist Joel Gratz reported Jan. 17. "This means that we could see light snow showers on Saturday, and then there will be a better chance for more intense snow from Saturday afternoon through the day on Sunday."

Gratz, who posts snow forecasts at OpenSnow.com, said skiers can expect total accumulations in the range of 5 to 10 inches by the end of the day on Sunday. And temperatures won't be as frigid as he previously expected, with the thermometer reaching into the teens on the mountain.

The National Weather Service is forecasting snow showers over the weekend on the valley floor.

Intellicast rates the chance of Steamboat receiving 3 to 5 inches of snow on Saturday at 80 percent, and another 3 inches on Sunday at 70 percent. Snow showers could return Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 23 and 24, with less than an inch of accumulation. However, there is currently a 60 percent chance of 3 to 5 inches on Thursday, Jan. 25.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is advising people who seek their powder in the backcountry not to be fooled by current avalanche danger ratings that place the hazard for most of the state, including the Steamboat zone, at "moderate."

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There are still heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features.

"The most concerning slopes are located near treeline and face a northerly or easterly direction,” forecaster Jason Konigsberg wrote the morning of Jan. 17, adding that the Flat Tops and North Routt, "had a very thin and weak snowpack before the last round of snowfall. All areas of the state with a similar snowpack are seeing numerous rider-triggered avalanches."

The most recent citizen report of an avalanche originated close to Steamboat after an unidentified observer came upon a pre-existing small slab avalanche on a north facing slope below treeline on Buffalo Pass.

Check the snowalarm.com blog for an updated forecast.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.