After a couple weeks of above normal temperatures and limited snow/moisture, some Telluride locals are a bit nervous with how the remainder of the ski season is going to play out.  Forecasters from the Aspen area are giving the Aaron Rodgers, "relax".  Snow and colder temperatures will be returning to Colorado this weekend along with a wintry pattern.  Great time to look at real estate here in Telluride.  Call Dan Henschel 970 708 2131.

‘Powder days are coming’

Forecaster says March snowfall should be solid

 

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TweetPosted: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 6:09 pm

By ANDRE SALVAIL, Editor

After a cold and snowy January, temperatures over the last two weeks in Telluride have been a bit above the norm and snowfall has been light and sporadic, leading some skiers and snowboarders to hit the panic button with regard to the powder outlook for the remaining 6.5 weeks of ski season.

Ryan Boudreau, a forecaster for AspenWeather.net, an online service that monitors weather at ski resorts throughout the West, says the powderhounds need to relax. The “unsettled weather patterns” that produce colder temps and solid snowfall should return to the Telluride area sometime this weekend, most likely on Sunday. 

 “The Pacific Ocean, which determines our snowfall in Colorado, will be opening up again really soon,” Boudreau said. “The forecast models look good in terms of snowfall for the San Juan Mountains for the last 10 days of February and the month of March. Some nice powder days are coming.”

He and his business partner, forecaster Cory Gates, predict 60-70 inches of snow in March for the Aspen area and a similar amount for Telluride, which would mean a positive closing month to the 2016-17 season. Telluride Ski Resort’s closing day is Sunday, April 2.

While resorts in Wyoming and Montana in the northern Rocky Mountains are receiving phenomenal snowfall and outpacing Colorado this year, resorts in the southern Rockies stand to have an above-average season, Boudreau said. The four ski areas in the Aspen area should end the November-through-March snow season with about 290-300 inches, and Telluride will be about the same, he predicted.

“It’s not unusual for Colorado resorts to have anomalies,” Boudreau said. “If you look back at last year, snowfall along the Western Slope in February was pretty crappy, and then it dumped in March, April and May. It’s coming back.”

Lindsey Mills, content and communications manager for Telski, noted that snow is in the forecast for the upcoming Presidents Day weekend, which is typically a busy three-day weekend for Colorado ski resorts. Presidents Day is Monday, Feb. 20.

The Weather Channel and its online service Weather.com, updated its forecast Tuesday afternoon to call for a 50 percent chance of snow on Friday in Telluride, but did not predict measurable amounts.

Saturday’s forecast is for a 60 percent chance of snow, but accumulations of less than 1 inch. The chance of snow on Sunday is greater at 80 percent, with 1-3 inches of measurable snowfall.

Mills said Telluride Ski Resort is on pace to have a similar snowfall total for the 2016-17 season as it did in 2015-16, which ended up at 292 inches. 

“We’re at 217 inches so far,” she said Tuesday.

Last month proved to be Telski’s second-snowiest January on record, with 95 inches of the white stuff. The Telluride resort received 111 inches in January 2008, Mills said.

Like Boudreau, Mills was bullish on snowfall chances for the remaining 6.5 weeks of the season.

As of Tuesday morning, Telski had recorded 10 inches of snow at its mid-mountain measuring spot over the previous three days. 

“The mountain is 100 percent open, fully accessible,” she said. “Everything that opened right before Christmas has remained open throughout the season. Our extreme and hike-to terrain is open as well, as far as Prospect Bowl, Black Iron Bowl and Palmyra Peak, which is a really impressive thing to keep open for that long.”

Gates said the warmer temperatures during much of this winter are part of Mother Nature’s cyclical patterns, and shouldn’t fuel cries that climate change is accelerating. Noting that he is not “anti-global warming,” he said the Pacific Ocean has been mired in a warming trend over the last four decades, leading to mostly warmer temperatures across the Western Slope.

The ocean is predicted to cool in the next three to five years, probably in 2020, which generally will mean cooler temperatures for Colorado, Gates said.