It has been an amazing winter so far for Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas and this week has raised the bar even further. It has been snowing about every other day for the last week for a total at the Vail ski area of 36 inches and in the last 2 days Blue Sky Basin received 2 feet of snow!
What has made conditions even more amazing is the consistent temperatures keeping the snow soft and not developing a crust. If temps get to warm between storms a firm layer can develop and when new snow falls it sits on this layer. This winter we have consistently had storms roll in at least once a week and as in the case of this week it has snowed more days than not. Since the snow has not become firm even the days where we get only a few inches the mountain skis great because the snow beneath is still soft. Then on the big days we have been getting the skiing is all time!
Is this due to El Nino? Warmer than normal water in the tropical Pacific creates an ocean circulation pattern known as “El Nino” that affects weather and snowfall across the country. This years El Nino was forecasted by experts to be powerful and so far it has lived up to its reputation! Other extremely powerful El Ninos were in 1997 to 1998, 1982 to 1983, and 1877 to 1978 and for those here those seasons you remember how amazing they were. The 97-98 ski season changed the way the mountain skied there was so much snow.
A check of the US Department of Agricultures, Natural Resources Conservation Service web site shows snow pack levels across the state to be consistently over 100%. With Buffalo Park in the Upper Colorado River Basin to be at 146%, booya!
Considering January can be the driest month of the ski season this means things may only get better. Often times it can just be too cold to snow in January but this years warm water in the Pacific has prevented that, come mid February and March when the snowfall really turns up you may need your snorkel to ski.
What this consistent snowfall means to the skiers hitting our great ski resorts besides conditions as good as they are is more powder days to your self. When it snows as consistently as it has locals can’t keep taking off work for “powder days”. This leaves the mountain empty for those here on vacation, so get out there and enjoy it!
If you came unprepared for all this snow and find your self in need of some powder skis, stop into any of our 3 ski shop locations, Vail, Beaver Creek and Avon for the best ski rental experience with brands you know and love.