Winter arrives in full force | SteamboatToday.com

Winter arrives in full force

The sun came out late Friday afternoon after 17 inches of snow fell at the Steamboat Ski Area in 48 hours.

— Winter has arrived in Routt County.

Storms this week packed a punch for the Steamboat Ski Area, where 17 inches of snow fell at mid-mountain in a 48-hour period.

The ski area received 11 inches of fresh snow at mid-mountain between Thursday night and 5 a.m. Friday morning. Snow showers continued throughout the day.

"Mother Nature sure turned the switch to winter quickly in Steamboat," Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Rob Perlman said in a news release. “With the fresh snow this week, snowmaking going in full force and additional storm systems forecasted over the coming days, the mountain is looking better and better as we head toward opening day."

Ski resorts throughout Colorado benefited from the storms. Joel Gratz, with opensnow.com, reported resorts in Southwest Colorado received between 12 and 18 inches of snow, while resorts in the central and northern mountains typically got between six and 12 inches of snow.

“Those are good numbers, both because that's a fine amount of snow for one storm in Colorado, and because no mountain ranges were skunked,” Gratz wrote.

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An early-season snow message only helps Colorado ski areas to get people thinking about ski vacations.

Residents also flipped the switch quickly, with snow sports now on their minds. Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare Manager Derek Hodson said it was a busy day at the shop Friday.

“All the bikers start thinking about their ski gear,” Hodson said. “Once they can’t ride their bikes, they run in for their skis.”

The ski area is gearing up for Scholarship Day on Nov. 25 and opening day Nov. 26.

"As this wintry weather pattern shift continues, funneling several storms over the coming days to Steamboat, resort crews are working under extreme wintery conditions to take full advantage of the weather," said Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations. "Heavy machinery, snowmaking hose, guns and equipment, along with snowcats, are out in full force, so please help us, and remain off the mountain."

The ski area and meteorologists predict snow will continue in the forecast for Steamboat and other Colorado resorts.

“Overall, I see active weather continuing, with a few more storms through Nov. 20,” Gratz wrote.

Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth is calling for the sun to reappear through the weekend before another storm rolls in from the Northwest United States. The storm should approach the Northwest Colorado region Tuesday.

“Unlike this past storm, models are forecasting that this storm will split as it crosses the Great Basin, which may minimize the snowfall over northern Colorado,” Weissbluth wrote. “At the very least, temperatures will drop by Wednesday as the northern part of the split storm drags some cool air over our area.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland