Colorado skiers and snowboarders reveled in the powder thanks to a major storm system that benefited all parts of the high country – but nowhere more than Purgatory in the southwestern corner of the state.
Purgatory received 33 inches from the storm Wednesday morning with another 16 expected for the next two days. Other southern stations were also hard hit, with Silverton receiving 30 inches, Wolf Creek 25 and Telluride 17.
“Floating in the air,” Purgatory marketing director Amanda Anderson said of powder skiing there on Tuesday. “It was amazing.”
The storm was also a boon for the central mountains, especially in or near Aspen areas. Snowmass received 25 inches, and five nearby stations received a foot or more: Aspen Highlands recorded 18, Sunlight 16, Buttermilk 14, Crested Butte 14 and Aspen Mountain 12.
The northern mountains most frequented by skiers and snowboarders in the Front Range received 4 to 7 inches, but up to 8 more are forecast for the next two days.
This week’s storm system is especially welcome in Purgatory and Telluride, which received heavy snowfall over the Christmas holidays, but not much since. This region of the state has also faced persistent drought.
“We had an incredible cycle of holiday storms and then there was very little weather until two days ago,” Anderson said. “It’s a huge refresh. It’s nice to re-engage our pass holders and make the mountain look like winter again.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued a warning for the Grand Mesa, Aspen, Gunnison, North San Juan and South San Juan mountains.
“Heavy snowfall and high winds produced very dangerous avalanche conditions,” the CAIC said. “Big avalanches will be very easy to trigger and some will unfold naturally. Travel in avalanche terrain in the backcountry is not recommended.
Avalanche danger for the Front Range, Vail area, Summit County, Steamboat Springs area, and the Sawatch Range is rated Considerable, #3 on an avalanche danger scale of 1 to 5.
“Dangerous avalanche conditions exist, particularly in east-facing areas (slopes) near and above the treeline where strong winds have built up stiff slabs,” the CAIC advised skiers. and to snowboarders in areas of considerable risk. “Avoid traveling over and under slopes steeper than about 30 degrees that face north east southeast. You can trigger avalanches large enough to bury you in these areas. safe in a lower angle and a ground sheltered from the wind.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to receive outdoor news straight to your inbox.