Cold weather won’t bring much snow, but it could boost snowmaking |

Cold weather won’t bring much snow, but it could boost snowmaking

Snow machines were working hard making snow at Howelsen Hill on a cold Saturday, Nov. 12. Opening day is scheduled for Nov. 23.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

While Steamboat Springs may not get much snow the week before Steamboat Resorts’ planned opening on Nov. 23, cold temperatures should make conditions ripe for snowmaking.

Local Meteorologist Mike Weissbluth said there would be some chances for natural powder, but that storms coming through likely don’t have the moisture needed to significantly add to the snowpack.

“A series of moisture-starved weather disturbances (will) periodically drag reinforcing surges of cold from the north through our area,” Weissbluth wrote in his latest update at “These look to bring the possibility of light snow showers through most of the work week, though any accumulations will be meager.”

The Yampa Valley is currently between a cold low pressure system to the north and a high pressure ridge to the west that Weissbluth said will strengthen through the week.

The first wave of cold air will move through on Monday, Nov. 14, limiting high temperatures to start the week to the upper 20s, which is about 15 degrees below average for this time of year.

The next wave comes on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to drop temperatures by a bit more and allow for a better chance of light snow showers throughout the day. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction puts snow changes at 20% on Tuesday with a high near 27.

After a drier wave moves over Wednesday, Nov. 16, a more substantial one will arrive late Thursday, Nov. 17.

“This will probably be our best chance for accumulating snowfall during this period of time, though accumulations will be quite light with several inches possible at best,” Weissbluth said.

Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing all week, which should aid snowmaking at both Steamboat Resort and Howelsen Hill Ski Area. Weissbluth said weather should be “completely and utterly awesome” for snowmaking.

“The colder and drier the better, so these nights are going to be really good,” he said.

Looking ahead, there is currently a stronger storm near the Alutian Islands that will move east through the week and break down the high pressure ridge to the west. It is unclear how the storm will look when it makes it to the Yampa Valley, but Weissbluth said it looks to have more moisture.

“Lets see what happens when that ridge moves out of the way this weekend,” Weissbluth said. “It does look like we will be in a wetter, colder pattern, so we may be getting some snow around opening day.”

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