Powderhorn still waiting for powder | AspenTimes.com

Powderhorn still waiting for powder

Paul Shockley
Grand Junction correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” Joe Ramey’s skis still have storage wax on them.

Ramey, a meteorologist with Grand Junction’s National Weather Service office and Powderhorn season pass holder, said he was helping to groom cross-country trails on the Grand Mesa by late October last year.

He’s still waiting to start this year.

“Every year’s different in the intermountain West,” Ramey said Monday.

With a looming Dec. 6 opening date still in place for Powderhorn Resort, Ramey said short and longer-term forecasts for Grand Mesa aren’t encouraging for powder hounds. Like other western Colorado ski resorts, Powderhorn is hurting for snow.

“The three-month outlook is drier than normal with above normal temperatures,” Ramey said.

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There’s nothing over the next 10 days promising significant Grand Mesa snowfall, he said.

Sarah Allen, Powderhorn spokeswoman, said the resort is still committed to a Dec. 6 opening day.

But …

“It’s too early to make a call yet,” Allen said. “Obviously, we’re going to need some help from Mother Nature over the next couple of weeks.”

There’s spotty snow on the Grand Mesa, mostly in shaded areas, but next to nothing along open terrain. Allen, however, said recent overnight low temperatures of zero to 10 degrees give them reason for hope.

“We’ve finally got the temperatures to make snow,” she said. “We may start (Monday) night.”

Ramey said a storm system that looks to move through Colorado Tuesday through Wednesday may bring up to 2 inches of snow to the Grand Mesa. Or, it could bring no accumulation.

“Probably closer to the lower end there,” Ramey said.

November snowpack is historically minimal.

“We are behind, but if we’ve had just one or two storms we’re at or above average,” Ramey said.

“We’ll have a better idea how we’re doing by January.”

The top of the mesa, located outside of Grand Junction in western Colorado, stands at about 10,000 feet. Powerhorn is at 9,850 feet.