Aspen " 2 inches; Vail " 11 inches
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Oddly, it snowed harder in the midvalley than it did in either Aspen and Snowmass or at Sunlight down in Glenwood Springs on Friday.
Snowmass, Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands all picked up 2 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Saturday morning report.
Buttermilk received 1 inch of new snow. Sunlight Mountain Resort outside Glenwood Springs also reported 2 fresh inches on Saturday morning.
In El Jebel, halfway between the two ends of the valley, residents were shoveling 4 to 5 inches off their walks by midday Friday (take it from someone who partook of this exercise).
Light snow could boost the on-slope totals on Saturday. The forecast for Aspen calls for 1 to 3 inches of new snow, plus another inch Saturday night. And, another 1 to 3 inches are possible Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Mostly sunny skies are forecast on Monday.
Some ski resorts fared better than Aspen/Snowmass on Friday. Beaver Creek and Keystone reported 6 inches of new snow over the past 24 hours in their Saturday morning report; Copper Mountain and Crested Butte picked up 7 inches; Monarch Mountain and Steamboat were blessed with 10 inches and Vail picked up 11 inches ” tops in the state.
The snowpack in Aspen-area mountains has stabilized somewhat from the high danger of last weekend, though there’s still plenty of cause for caution. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s report for the Aspen zone on Saturday reads:
“The avalanche danger is considerable on all slopes near and above treeline. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered ones probable. Be especially careful around wind-loaded terrain near and above treeline on slopes facing north, northeast, south, southeast and south. Strong winds out of the west and northwest during the day yesterday have transported lots of snow onto these aspects. Large paths that did not run during the last cycle are worrisome as well. Avalanche danger below treeline is an overall moderate. Human-triggered avalanches are still possible here.”
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There is a lot of pent up energy among hikers and bikers to get into the high country, but snow fields, avalanche debris and high stream crossings are presenting challenges later than usual. Forest rangers with the Aspen-Sopris District provide trail condition reports that are updated each week so hikers and backpackers aren’t caught unaware.