Storm dumps 7 inches on Aspen, higher snow totals in Fryingpan, Crystal areas

Staff report

What’s been dubbed one of the fiercest storms of the winter so far in the Colorado mountains set its sights in terrain surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village on Thursday night.

While the Aspen Snowmass ski areas scored between 3 and 7 inches by early Friday morning, ski areas along the I-70 corridor and Front Range reaped more than a foot of powder. Locations in southwest Colorado and even in the Upper Crystal Valley also received significant snow.

Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands reported 7 inches of snow. Snowmass reported 6 inches while Buttermilk came in at 3 inches.

Aspen Skiing Co.’s snow report said heavy winds Thursday night created variable conditions. “Some slopes are heavily loaded while others will have little new snow,” the report said.

Snowfall totals were spotty around the Roaring Fork River watershed. Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported about one foot of snow in the Fryingpan River Valley, 17 inches of snow on Independence Pass and over two feet of snow in the Upper Crystal River Valley.

Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs reported 7 inches of fresh snow. Informal reports in the midvalley were for 11 inches of snow in the El Jebel area and in Missouri Heights.

The Aspen backcountry zone is under an avalanche warning. CAIC rated the level as high, four out of five.

“Avalanche conditions are very dangerous today,” the report said. “We area already seeing widespread avalanche activity in adjacent areas and another 4 to 10 inches of snow with very strong northwesterly winds will only make things more dangerous (Friday).”

Colorado Ski Country USA reported 17 inches of Copper Mountain in the last 24 hours as of early Friday. Loveland tallied 15 inches while Arapahoe Basin collected 14 inches.

Further off the beaten track, Winter Park reported 11 inches while Steamboat received 15 inches. Crested Butte reported 8 inches.

The website Open Snow reported 17 inches of snow at Vail Mountain, 19 inches at Breckenridge, 11 at Keystone but only 6 inches at Beaver Creek on Friday morning.

The big winner in the state was Silverton with 22 inches of glorious powder.

Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs reported 7 inches fresh snow.

Informal reports from around the midvalley placed snowfall totals closer to 11 inches as of 9 a.m. Friday with snow still falling.

The valley’s school districts anticipated a big dump, perhaps bigger than materialized, and canceled classes for Friday. All Roaring Fork School District and Aspen School District classes were canceled.

Ground and air transportation were hampered throughout the mountains. The commute to Aspen on Highway 82 was slow due to a single-vehicle accident at mile marker 30. Interstate 70 was closed in multiple locations due to avalanche control work throughout the morning, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Commercial flights arriving and departing at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport were canceled throughout Thursday and Friday morning.