Roaring Fork snowpack slips to 83 percent of average |

Roaring Fork snowpack slips to 83 percent of average

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

Colorado’s statewide snowpack remained at 86 percent of average for the second straight month in January while the Roaring Fork watershed’s snowpack slipped from 85 percent to 83 percent during the month, according to a report released Wednesday.

Snowpack levels decreased in many parts of the state during the dry January but they increased in southwestern Colorado after a series of wet storms rolled through, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service said in its monthly report. The weather pattern has favored the Four Corners region with snowstorms this winter.

Colorado’s weather is considerably drier this winter than last winter, the report said. The statewide snowpack is just 73 percent of last year’s snowpack at the same point in the season. The Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 snowpack levels were the lowest since 2003, the report said.

In the Roaring Fork basin, the snowpack in the Fryingpan Valley is particularly low, the conservation service data showed. The level at Nast Lake, at an elevation of 8,700 feet, was only 55 percent of the long-term average. At the Kiln site farther up the valley, the snowpack was only 59 percent of average. At Ivanhoe, a lake at 10,400 feet in elevation, the snowpack was 82 percent of average.

The Crystal River Valley also lost the healthy snowpack it had stockpiled earlier in the season. The North Lost Trail area near Marble had a snowpack 78 percent of average. At McClure Pass it was 83 percent of average and at Schofield Pass it was 98 percent of average.

The conservation service said its computerized Snotel site half-way between Aspen and the summit of Independence Pass was at 92 percent of average.

The Aspen-area snowpack compared favorably to many parts of the state as of Wednesday. Copper Mountain was at 66 percent of average while Vail Mountain was at 68 percent of average, the conservation service’s data showed.

Hoosier Pass near Breckenridge was at 84 percent of average while Rabbit Ears near Steamboat Springs was at only 53 percent of average.

Snotel sites near southwest ski areas showed heathier snowpacks. Wolf Creek summit was at 115 percent of average while Lizard Head Pass outside of Telluride was at 111 percent.

Desert areas in southeast Utah are also benefiting from the storm pattern. The La Sal Mountains site, in the range outside of Moab, had a snowpack 108 percent of average Wednesday.

Mike Gillespie, snow survey supervisor for the conservation service, said about 60 percent of the snowpack has accumulated by this point in a typical winter.

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