Steamboat rides consistent storms to 247 inches of season snowfall at summit on Jan. 31
February 1, 2017
Steamboat Springs — Powered by back-to-back months with more than 100 inches of snowfall at the summit of Storm Peak on Steamboat Ski Area, skiers and riders have enjoyed 26 powder days since the mountain opened for the season on Nov. 23, 2016.
Technically, a powder day is recorded when 4 inches of fresh snow is reported to have fallen at the summit on the morning snow report in the preceding 24 hours.
The number of days through Jan. 31, when at least .25 inches of snowfall were measured reached 51. By that standard, 71 percent of the days in December (22 of 31) saw snowfall and 65 percent of January days (20 of 31) saw new snow.
"This is my first winter out here, and it's the deepest winter of my life," skier Chris Cantrell, originally from Lexington, Kentucky, said Feb. 2. "Definitely, Steamboat has lived up to the hype."
The mid-mountain base at Steamboat had reached 61 inches as of Jan. 31, and the summit stood at 75 inches.
The ski area had recorded 222.75 inches of snowfall this season at mid-mountain and 247.25 inches at the summit. Those totals include the 13 inches that fell on Nov. 18, 2016, before the ski area opened. It was that storm that broke up an unseasonably warm and dry beginning to November.
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The nearly 223 inches of snowfall at mid-mountain is more than was counted in the entire ski seasons of both 1980-81 and 1991-92, according to records compiled by the ski area. And there are more than two full months remaining in the season, which ends April 16.
Ryan Vogel, Cantrell's colleague at the One Stop Ski Shop in downtown Steamboat, recalled a day in late January when the two of them made it to the top of the Pony chairlift by 8:45 a.m. to find 5 to 6 inches of fresh snow.
"It was one of those days when the quality of the snow was more heavy — not the light snow Steamboat's famous for, but in the trees and the moguls, it was so much fun to ski," Vogel said.
Thus far, the biggest single storms of the season were those that produced 14 inches at mid-mountain and 22 inches at the summit on Dec. 17, 2016, and 20 inches at both mid-mountain and the summit recorded on Jan. 5. Those have also been the only double-digit powder days this season.
Vogel, who hails from Bergen County, New Jersey, and is spending his second winter in the 'Boat, reflected on the lead-up to ski season in the first two weeks of November. That's when the weather in the upper Yampa Valley was unseasonably warm and dry, and Vogel was starting to be concerned about the ski season ahead.
"A lot of the people in town, all of the local, local people, said 'No worries,'" Vogel recalled.
Now that he's skied consecutive months with more than 100 inches of snowfall, Vogel agrees that turned out to be reliable advice.