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Winter set to return, but truly big snow totals likely to miss mountains west of continental divide

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March 9, 2021, 8:37 am

Looking for snow in all the wrong places.

That’s what the forecast seems to be promising in Colorado this week as a major winter storm puts a bullseye on areas east of the continental divide, such as Front Range cities that could see feet of wet, heavy snow by the weekend.

News flash – that’s not where the best skiing is.

On Monday, Opensnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz put out an alert calling for anywhere between 15 and 60 inches of snow east of the divide, explaining “that’s not a typo.”

For areas west of the divide, he was calling for a much more modest 5 to 15 inches. But hey, after multiple days of temperatures pushing 60 and our snowpack rapidly receding in and around Vail and Beaver Creek – and we assume the rest of the central and northern Colorado Rockies – we’ll take whatever we can get.

In fact, the forecast is shaping up for some decent mountain snow well into next week, and, man, do we need it. With Beaver Creek a little over a month away from closing day on Sunday, April 11, and Vail closing a week later on Sunday, April 18, seasonal snow totals are way below average.

Both resorts extended their seasons by one week on Tuesday. The busy Easter season is early this year, with Easter Sunday falling on April 4.

Beaver Creek has seen a seasonal total of 183 inches with settled base of 40. Vail is just slightly ahead at 188 for the season with a settled base of 51. Bear in mind, seasonal averages for both resorts are in excess of 300 inches.

We need a solid 10 feet of snow over the next month just to get to average. But it looks like the Front Range will be shoveling feet of snow this weekend and not the high-country ski resorts. Bummer. Here’s the forecast from Gratz at Opensnow.com:

“Tuesday will be dry. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday should bring showers with at least a few inches of snow for most mountains. On Saturday and Sunday, a powerful storm will bring snow to nearly all mountains with feet of snow likely near and east of the divide. For early next week, a new storm should keep the snow falling across most mountains. It’s going to be a fun seven days!”

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