Wild and wet January falls short of 100 inches of snowfall (but no one is complaining) | AspenTimes.com

Wild and wet January falls short of 100 inches of snowfall (but no one is complaining)

A skier blasts through the trees at Snowmass Ski Area when double-digits of snow greeted powder hounds Jan. 10.
Jeremy Swanson/courtesy photo |

The four Aspen Skiing Co. ski areas fell short of 100 inches of snow for January, but skiers and snowboarders were still treated to a superb month.

Snowmass ended the month with 87 inches of snow, according to Aspen Skiing Co. records, while Aspen Highlands was right behind at 86 inches. Aspen Mountain reported 78 inches while Buttermilk reaped 57 inches, Skico said.

It looked like the 100-inch barrier was going to be topped when snow fell on 23 of the first 26 days of the month. The snow stopped falling Jan. 27, and the last five days of the month were dry.

Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the snowfall boosted season-pass use and attracted overnight visitors.

“Momentum carried on from the end of the holiday period and we were strong across all categories,” Hanle said.

Erik Peltonen, a regular on the slopes, said this January stacked up as one of the best in his 47 years of skiing Aspen. He estimated he hit the slopes 21 times during the month, including the bluebird day Tuesday to close out the month.

Out-of-towners were blown away by the snow conditions, as well, as evidenced when an elementary school-aged boy told his father at the Snowmass base Sunday, “This place is the best, Dad.”

Since November, Snowmass has collected 187 inches of snow while Aspen Highlands has racked up 184 inches, both at the mountaintops. Aspen Mountain stands at 159 inches and Buttermilk is at 118 inches, according to Skico.

The snowpack east of Aspen near the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River was at 142 percent of the median Tuesday, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The weather was wet in the Roaring Fork Valley floor, as well. The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport collected 2.10 inches of precipitation in January. The normal amount for the month is 1.21 inches.