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Extreme drought persists despite snow in forecast for closing week at Vail

April 13, 2021, 9:33 am
Chuck and Loki are bummed for the end of Nordic season in EagleVail.

Beaver Creek closed for the season on Sunday with a skimpy 232-inch seasonal snowfall total and a 44-inch settled base – about 100 inches below the seasonal average. Vail, which closes Sunday, April 18, was at 229 and 41 as of Tuesday morning. Those are scary numbers.

According to local water officials, as reported in the Vail Daily, the snow-water equivalent peak that measures the water content of the local snowpack occurred on March 31, nearly a month earlier than usual. That has potentially dire ramifications for water and wildfire management.

There is some good news with snow in the forecast for the rest of the week and potentially into the weekend, but it will not be nearly enough to get the area around the upper Eagle and Colorado River basins anywhere close to seasonal averages. The county’s extreme drought continues, and water officials are asking residents to undertake immediate conservation.

Light snow had started falling in EagleVail as of Tuesday morning.

“On Monday night, the storm is just started to make itself known with light accumulations over some northern mountains,” meteorologist Joel Gratz of Opensnow.com wrote early Tuesday.

“The best chances for powder should be Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. morning,” Gratz added. “Right now, I have the highest confidence in Wed. and Sat. morning. Totals each day could be 3-6+ inches with the northeastern mountains having the best chance of the deeper snow.”

That means it could be a soft and fun closing day at Vail, which extended its closing by a week despite the low snowpack and is now offering free parking. Last season, snow riding ended abruptly at Vail and all around the state a month earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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