Aspen under winter storm warning
December 18, 2008
ASPEN ” A winter storm warning is in effect for a swath of the Colorado Rockies, including the Aspen area, where another foot of snow could fall by early Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
The warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday and snow is expected to become heavy at times on Thursday in an area that includes Aspen, Snowmass, Crested Butte, Marble and Vail, the weather service said.
Strong southwest winds gusting to 50 mph will cause widespread blowing and drifting of snow, the weather service warned. The winds are expected to shift to the northwest on Thursday.
The Aspen Skiing Co. was reporting just a few inches of new snow on local slopes at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, but snow has continued to fall in town since then ” heavily at times, but with with periodic lulls. The Skico has reported new snow every day since Sunday.
Snowfall totals at Colorado ski resorts were a mixed bag on Thursday morning.
The Skico reported 4 inches over the past 24 hours at Aspen Highlands, and 10 inches over the past 48 hours.
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The numbers were 3 and 9 inches, respectively, at Aspen Mountain, and 4 and 10 inches at both Snowmass and Buttermilk.
Extend the time frame to 72 hours and add another 10 inches to the total at Highlands, and 9 inches at Snowmass and Aspen Mountain.
Sunlight Mountain Resort outside Glenwood Springs reported 4 inches over the past 24 hours and 11 inches over the past 48 hours.
Elsewhere, snowfall totals reported Thursday morning for the prior 24 and 48 hours look like this:
Beaver Creek ” 4 and 15
Breckenridge ” 1 and 4
Copper Mountain ” 1 and 4
Crested Butte ” 5 and 13
Durango Mountain Resort ” 6 and 13
Loveland ” 1 and 3
Silverton Mountain ” 14 and 18
Steamboat ” 1 and 2
Telluride ” 8 and 10
Vail ” 2 and 12
Winter Park ” 1 and 9
Wolf Creek ” 11 and 23
In the backcountry, overall avalanche danger was rated considerable to high around the state on Thursday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
In the Aspen region, and avalanche watch was in effect until noon Thursday, the CAIC said. Avalanche danger is high on all northwest, north, northeast and east aspects and considerable elsewhere. Anyone without the skills to analyze the terrain and snowpack should avoid backcountry travel in the Aspen zone, the CAIC advised.
Local avalanche activity included large, natural slab slides in Loge Bowl and Maroon Bowl on Wednesday, according to the CAIC. Control work at local ski areas has produced avalanches on many aspects and elevations, the report added.
Go to http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php for the full report.