Powder day at Aspen, Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

Powder day at Aspen, Snowmass

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Virginia Bartley of Bridgewater, Conn., and friend Barbara Hawkins of Lietchfield, Conn., walk through the falling snow Saturday afternoon in downtown Aspen. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN ” Powder day!

A winter storm left 19 inches of new snow at Snowmass over the past 24 hours and 20 inches on Aspen Mountain, according to the Aspen Skiing Co’s Sunday morning snow report.

Over the past 48 hours, Snowmass has picked up 29 inches and Aspen Mountain received 27 inches of new snow.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, which open Dec. 8, each picked up 20 inches in the past 24 hours, the Skico reported.

The snow brought new terrain openings; go to http://www.aspentimes.com/onthehill for details.

The National Weather Service has lifted the winter storm warning that had been in effect for the mountains surrounding Aspen and Snowmass, but snow is expected to persist Sunday morning. Accumulations of less than 2 inches are forecast.

Among other ski areas around Colorado, the southwestern resorts picked up plenty of snow ” more than three feet fell at Wolf Creek and Silverton in the past 48 hours. Telluride reported 13 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.

Elsewhere, Vail reported 11 inches in the past 24 hours, Steamboat picked up 9 inches, Winter Park received 10.5 inches, Beaver Creek picked up 15 inches, Crested Butte reported 19 inches and Loveland received 10 inches.

The avalanche rating for the mountains surrounding Aspen remains high for a second straight day on Sunday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center; an avalanche watch remains in effect for the Aspen zone.

Said the CAIC: “With snow forecasted to continue through the evening hours and some stronger southwest winds transporting that snow, expect to see a big increase in avalanche danger in the backcountry today (Sunday). Near and above treeline, a very weak older snowpack exists on slopes facing northwest, through northeast, through east. On these aspects, plenty of facets and depth hoar can be found at the base of the snowpack, often mixed with some crusts from all the warm fall weather. Add to this the weight of new snow and wind deposited snow and you have the perfect combination of slab, weak layer, and bed surface to create avalanches today.

On slopes steep enough to slide, avalanche activity is likely today, especially on northwest-, north-, northeast- and east-facing terrain, near and above treeline. Given the weak nature of the old snowpack on these aspects, avalanches have the potential to become large events.”

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