Snow falls across Colorado Rocky Mountains, hitting every ski area in Summit County

Ryan Spencer
Summit Daily
The snow on top of the Breckenridge Ski Resort on Monday is being considered the first official snowfall, as the Aug. 14 dusting could have been hail.
Sarah Mclear/Breckenridge Ski Resort

White-tipped mountains stoked excitement on Monday for the upcoming ski season as Coloradans throughout the high country awoke to some summer snow. 

From Arapahoe Basin to Breckenridge, a dusting of snow fell on every major ski resort in Summit County. After a warm spell, September temperatures finally dipped low enough that a small storm system dropped snow throughout the state’s high peaks overnight, National Weather Service Forecaster Robert Koopmeiners said.

“It’s getting late enough in the season, you get up to a high enough elevation and you’re going to get snow,” Koopmeiners said. “It’s that time of year. It’s September, right? One would expect that.”

Breckenridge Ski Resort on Monday posted photos of snow on Peak 8, Peak 9 and Peak 10. The ski resort has a planned opening date of Friday, Nov. 10, but the sight of the Tenmile Range dusted in white prompted some to begin dreaming of winter powder.

“Okay, this time it’s definitely snow!” Breckenridge posted on Facebook, harkening back to an Aug. 14 dusting that some claimed was hail, not snow. “We love frosted tips in September.”

Breckenridge plans to begin snowmaking around mid-October, communications manager Sara Lococo said in an email, noting the new Five SuperChair the resort expects to be completed for skiers to enjoy this season.

Snow sits on Breckenridge Ski Resort early Monday morning, hinting at a fast-approaching ski season.
Sarah Mclear/Breckenridge Ski Resort
Courtesy, City of Steamboat

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area also posted photos of snow on the rocky ridgeline of East Wall on Monday. This is one of the first signs of winter for the ski resort, Arapahoe Basin communications manager Shayna Silverman said.

Last year, Arapahoe Basin opened Oct. 23, making it the first Colorado ski resort to open for the season. Historically, the earliest Arapahoe Basin has opened is Oct. 9, Silverman said. The nearby Keystone Resort often competes to be the first in the state to open.

Arapahoe Basin plans to open as soon as possible, Silverman said. Snow-making activities are expected to start on the High Noon trail as soon as there are consistent cold temperatures, she added.

With plans to open as soon as mid-October, Keystone Resort also saw a small amount of snow Monday morning, according to communications manager Max Winter. While a light dusting sprinkled the top of the Bergman Bowl, where a new lift will take skiers this winter, the snow melted by early morning before the team could take photos, Winter said.

“These colder mornings have us really excited for the start of snowmaking season,” Winter said. “It’s all up to Mother Nature at the end of the day, but we anticipate starting snowmaking operations in the next month.”

At Copper Mountain, communications coordinator Olivia Butrymovich also confirmed a light dusting of snow on some of the ski resort’s highest terrain on Monday. The snow is exciting, as Copper counts down the days until it kicks off the season Nov. 13, Butrymovich said.

Breckenridge Ski Resort dons frosted tips Monday, Sept. 11.
Sarah Mclear/Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Kremmling invites residents to participate in community survey

“HEY-YO! There’s a dusting of white on the peaks,” Copper Mountain wrote on Instagram. “63 days ’til snow-sliding sports are a go.”

Outside of Summit County, few other ski resorts reported snow Monday, even as the National Weather Service reported snow above 11,000 feet at Rocky Mountain National Park and as Pikes Peak on the Front Range recorded more than an inch.

At least in Summit County, afternoon rains had washed away most of the snow by midday. But it’s certainly not too early to begin dreaming of winter, Koopmeiners said. Temperatures that until recently had been above average for September are starting to drop, he said.

Another bout of precipitation Thursday and Friday this week could again paint Colorado’s peak’s white, Koopmeiners said. If that doesn’t quite do the trick, the high country will be due for a true snowstorm here soon enough, he added.

“We don’t have a big organized snowstorm coming just yet but it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “You’ve got to look at the calendar — it’s mid-September.”

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