Steamboat area snowpack tops other Colorado mountain passes |

Steamboat area snowpack tops other Colorado mountain passes

GIS specialist Nicolai Bencke of the U.S. Forest Service checks the snow depth on top of Buffalo Pass in the midst of another winter.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As much as Steamboat Ski Area would like to be able to report more natural snowpack for skiers and riders this week, the snow situation in the Yampa Valley is better than in some other areas of Colorado.

The overall snowpack — technically the water stored in the snow — for the combined Yampa and White river basins stood at 72 percent of the median for Dec. 11.

The snowpack across Northwest Colorado was boosted by robust numbers  in specific locations. That includes snow moisture that is 137 percent of median at the Bear River measuring site on the headwaters of the Yampa River in the Flat Tops, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Closer to Steamboat, at the snowpack measurement site on Rabbit Ears Pass, where the snow on the ground measured 17 inches on Monday morning, the moisture in the standing snow represented 61 percent of median.

On the upper Elk River, the standing snow measured 13 inches and the snowpack was 81 percent of median.

Above 10,500 feet on the Continental Divide just northeast of Steamboat, at the Tower measuring site on Buffalo Pass, the snow depth was 33 inches, and the water content was 65 percent of median for the date.

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In Southern Colorado, some of the snowpack measurements aren't as robust. Wolf Creek Pass, which often rivals Buffalo Pass for the deepest snow in the state, had just 4 inches of snow on the ground Sunday, and the snowpack was just 27 percent of median.

On Lizard Head Pass, just south of Telluride, the snow depth was just 2 inches deep on Monday.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.