Don’t swap skis and ski boots for bikes and board shorts quite yet, Coloradans. A winter storm has roared into the Colorado Rockies bringing forecasted snow totals in the 15 to 25-inch range through Tuesday (for the Continental Divide east of Winter Park, via NOAA) along with it. What does this mean for Colorado skiers?
Arapahoe Basin is the only ski area that’s still open in Colorado. Over the next two days, OpenSnow is forecasting 5 to 13 inches of snow for the ski area located in Summit County. And for those skeptics who will scoff and say, “It’s mid-May, there can’t possibly be any open terrain worth skiing,” you better revise your statement. The Pallavicini lift, which accesses some of the steepest glades and biggest rock drops on the mountain, remains open with access to expert runs like North Glade. Montezuma Bowl, the expansive high-alpine terrain on the backside of the ski area, is also open with access to some great steep skiing off of Zuma Cornice. Those interested in squeezing out a few more top-notch lift-served days of skiing, get to A-Basin now.
The backcountry skiing will be unbelievable for this time of year. Stick to the trees of your favorite backcountry zones during the storm and when the snow consolidates, the skiing up high should be more than worth the uphill effort it’ll take to get there. Ski mountaineers are also dancing in response to this storm, as it will allow coveted lines to remain filled in well into the summer; we could be bagging peaks in July at this rate.
The statewide snowpack (SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent [SWE]) currently sits at 123-percent of average. No matter what outdoor recreation you’re into—backcountry skiing, boating, rafting, mountain biking, hiking, etc.—everyone should be rejoicing after gazing at that statistic.