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Which blizzard?

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

It was a Front Range storm, this Colorado Blizzard of 2003.

As the Colorado Avalanche Information Center put it Wednesday afternoon, “snow reports and avalanches tell a tale of two situations: the haves and the have-nots.

“New snow in the last 24 hours: Telluride, 1 inch; Beaver Creek, 2; Aspen Highlands, 3; Vail, Snowmass, Lake City, and Wolf Creek, 4; Copper and Wolf Creek Pass, 7; Breckenridge and Monarch, 11; Keystone, 11.5; A Basin, 22; Loveland 28; Eldora, 35; Winter Park, 43.5 inches!”

Indeed, Winter Park was heavily inundated with snow. The resort got nearly 6 feet of snow in two days and was overpowered. Yesterday, some lifts didn’t open and employees were running ragged trying to keep the parking lots and walkways clear, spokeswoman Joan Christensen told The Associated Press.

“I never knew there was this much snow in the world,” Christensen said. “This is our biggest storm ever. We have broken so many records we can’t keep track.”

And all that snow has prompted the CAIC to rate the avalanche danger in the Front Range as “extreme.”

At the Breckenridge Ski Resort, the folks in the PR department estimated they had gotten enough snow to fill the Sears Tower 4.5 times, the Empire State Building 5.2 times, and fill more than 11 billion Grande Starbucks coffee cups.

We’re not sure how they figured that out, but we appreciate their efforts.

The weather here, where it didn’t snow like it might, is expected to be partly cloudy today and then become mostly cloudy. There is a 30 percent chance of snow tonight. Friday is expected to be mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow.

Reports from the field on Wednesday said that the skiing was excellent. The corduroy was extra soft according to one experienced local skier. “It was some of the best groomed snow I skied all season,” sez she.

She also noted that the Highlands was empty, fluffy and beautiful and even though the Bowl was shrouded in fog, intrepid souls were embarking on the quest for the upper untracked.

In a sad note from the skiing world, Ronald Gregg, 54, founder and owner of Outdoor Research Inc., and James Schmid, 40, were caught in a slide Monday in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, about 12 miles north of Nelson and about 160 miles north of Spokane, Wash.

Outdoor Research, founded in 1979, makes outdoor equipment and clothing. Gregg, an experienced skier, constantly tested his products around the world.


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