It’s all about epic |

It’s all about epic

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS ” Snowmass has an outside shot of setting another record month of snowfall in March. If the snow in the forecast actually materializes on the ground, it just might happen.

The National Weather Service is calling for 4 to 8 inches of new snow in the mountains surrounding Aspen/ Snowmass by mid-morning today. Additional accumulations of 10 to 20 inches are possible this evening through Monday afternoon. That’s 28 inches, tops.

Snowmass’ snowfall total for the month of March stood at 73 inches going into the weekend. The record for the month is 101 inches, set in the legendary winter of 1983-84. Snowmass will tie the record with 28 inches by the end of Monday. An extra inch would break the record.

Snowfall at Snowmass stood at 384 inches going into this weekend, including November’s tally, a record 118 inches in December and 95 inches in January, also a record. February’s snowfall at Snowmass, 87 inches, did not set a record for that month, according to Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle.

“These Southern storms have just favored Snowmass this year,” he said.

Going into the weekend, Aspen Mountain had received 304 inches at its midpoint and 301 inches at its summit (a wind thing, you know), while Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands had recorded 300 inches at its summit ” a number everyone suspects is wrong thanks to measuring vagaries of some sort.

“Everyone up there says it has seen more,” Hanle said.

Hanle said he hadn’t tallied up total snowfall at each of the Skico’s four mountains for the month of March, but that comparing snowfall totals to the “records” is sort of impossible. Company records go back to 1980, but no one knows who was measuring what nearly 30 years ago. Did measurements in the fabled winter 24 years ago begin Nov. 1 or with the start of the ski season, which is typically Thanksgiving weekend?

“I don’t know what some [snow] reporters were doing [in 1983-84],” Hanle said.

Does it matter? This season adds up to excellent, no matter what the numbers.

Snowmass and Aspen Highlands picked up 6 inches of new snow over the past 24 hours, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Sunday morning snow report. Aspen Mountain received 4 inches and Buttermilk got 3 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center report for Sunday, March 30:

The avalanche danger for the Aspen zone is moderate near and above treeline. Steep, wind-loaded slopes on N-E aspects are the most problematic. Below treeline the danger is low, except during the afternoon on W-SW-S-SE aspects where it will rise to moderate due to increased chances for wet slide activity.