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Get ready, skiers: Snow is coming, with “significant” snowfall possible next week

Six inches or more seen for most mountains Tuesday and Wednesday “if not more,” meteorologist says

A dusting of snow lays on the Steamboat Ski Area in Steamboat Springs on Sept. 20, 2021. Another storm system may be targeting the mountains next week.
A dusting of snow lays on the Steamboat Ski Area in Steamboat Springs on Sept. 20, 2021. Another storm system may be targeting the mountains next week.

While skiers and snowboarders wonder how much longer they will have to wait to hit the slopes, mountain weather watchers are expecting a strong storm with cold temperatures to move through the Colorado high country next week, bringing the possibility of “significant” snowfall for most mountains.

It’s still too far out to predict which part of the state will get the most snow, or which ski areas will benefit, but it does appear it’s headed our way.

“While I have high confidence in the general forecast for a storm on Tuesday into Wednesday, I have only medium confidence in the storm’s track,” reports Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist at OpenSnow, which tracks and forecasts mountain weather for skiers and riders. “The good news (if you like snow and rain) is that the latest models have dropped the storm back to the south a little bit, which could mean more precipitation for us here in Colorado. But there are still differences in the details between the major models, and it’s these details that ultimately allow us to fine-tune the forecast.”

Gratz said wind, rain and some snow should arrive on Tuesday, with the coldest air and most snow to arrive Tuesday night through Wednesday.

“Temperatures will be cold enough for snow to fall down to most valleys with a snow level around 6,000 feet or lower,” Gratz wrote, “so if you’re planning to drive around the mountains during the middle of next week, plan for some snow to be on the roads. … While I don’t want to lock in a snow forecast when the storm is still a week away, it seems likely that most mountains have the potential for around half a foot of snow if not more.”

Gratz sees the potential for some snow this weekend in the high country as well. Meanwhile Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Keystone remain poised to begin making snow in hopes of opening this month.

“The snowmaking team was out doing more testing and training (Wednesday) morning,” Arapahoe Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “While temperatures still aren’t quite there yet, the forecast is looking more promising. We might see a little snow tonight and a bit of snow this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for colder and snowier weather next week.”

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