Yet another banner year for Aspen snowfall?
December 17, 2008
ASPEN ” If Yogi Berra was a skier in Aspen he’d say it’s dejà vu all over again.
The start of this winter resembles the beginning of last season, and that’s just fine with skiers and riders.
It snowed on 11 days between Thanksgiving and Tuesday this season. It also snowed 11 days between Thanksgiving and Dec. 16 last season, according to Aspen Skiing Co.’s records.
There have been seven days with 4 or more inches of snow already this season.
There were six days with 4 or more inches at this point last season.
There have been 63 inches of snow so far at the top of Aspen Mountain. There were 72 inches of snow at this point last season.
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“We are very close to pace with last year,” Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said. The snow depths are nearly identical on Aspen Mountain, with levels around 31 to 33 inches Tuesday and 31 to 32 inches last year at mid-December.
Maybe the most remarkable similarity is how dry the seasons started before the skies opened.
“It looks like it’s going to be a good winter,” said Griff Smith, an Aspenite who has skied every day so far this season. He has measured precipitation at his home for years. The snowfall in town is within about 4 inches of last year’s level at
“We already have surpassed our average for the month,” Smith said.
The snow just kept coming last season. Another 32 inches fell between Dec. 16 and the end of the month. The 98 inches of snow that fell at the top of Aspen Mountain for the month prompted the Skico to dub the month DEEPcember.
The Skico PR machine isn’t quite ready to revive the name this season, but won’t hesitate if the white stuff keeps falling.
“We might come up with the sequel,” Hanle said.
The 30 inches of snow that fell between Saturday and Tuesday morning have boosted the Roaring Fork River basin’s snowpack to 106 percent of average, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The federal agency has seven automated snowpack measuring stations called Snotel sites in the basin.
A site at the 10,600-foot elevation east of Aspen showed a snowpack 39 percent above average Tuesday for that date. The Roaring Fork has one of the highest snowpacks among river basins in Colorado right now, the agency’s statistics show.
Last season’s robust December was followed by an active January when it snowed 18 of 29 days at Aspen and Snowmass. Local powder hounds are keeping their fingers crossed.
“Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday felt just like last season,” Smith said Tuesday afternoon after returning from a day on the slopes. “Me and my buddies are just tickled with it.”