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AWOL winter

Steve Benson

Winter returned over the weekend, but spring is fighting back.

A spokesman for winter said the season went to Mexico for spring break in early March and apparently embarked on a prolonged beachside tequila binge, refusing to return to the Rockies. One week turned into three before winter emerged from a taqueria in Baja to apparently “mess with spring.”

All right, so maybe I made that up, but winter did return last week, dousing all four resorts with a much-needed helping of snow.

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are both reporting about 2 feet of new snow in the last week, with Highlands chalking up 16 inches.

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Ajax was skiing well on Sunday, especially the north-facing aspects of the mountain’s upper reaches. Icy bumps still loom between patches of powder, but the snow was surprisingly good considering March’s heat wave.

Norvan Larson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office, said the weekend snow was technically not even a storm.

“It was really not a storm per se,” Larson said. “Dynamically speaking, the major source of the lift wasn’t there. It was just moisture bumping into the mountains.”

The snows, Larson said, came in via a strong, unstable, moist flow out of the northwest, and the higher peaks of western Colorado “will get [that] this time of year.”

Highland Bowl really got it, with skiers reporting close to 2 feet in areas of the G-Zones.

But spring is back, and once again, winter has gone AWOL.

Larson said warm, clear skies will dominate most of the week ahead, with clouds, cooler temperatures and a slight chance of thunderstorms and snow for the weekend.

Witnesses claim they spotted winter boarding a jet for Tahiti yesterday, muttering, “I’m not even here, man, I’m not even here.”


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