Temperatures rise into 50s Saturday before chance of snow Sunday | SteamboatToday.com

Temperatures rise into 50s Saturday before chance of snow Sunday

— Don't get too excited, but there's a small chance for light snow in the mountains surrounding Steamboat Springs on Sunday night. And before any flurries take place, the high Saturday afternoon is expected to reach 53 degrees under clear skies.

Still, Dave Miller, of the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council, was dutifully headed up Rabbit Ears Pass on Friday night to groom the ridges off the hardened track of snow covering the Nordic ski track on Bruce's Trail.

"Bruce's is holding up, but it's really icy and fast," Miller said. "There aren't as many cars in the parking lot this week."

The Pacific storm front pressing east this weekend will favor more northerly latitudes. Lone Mountain at the Big Sky ski area in Montana's Gallatin Range could see 10 to 14 inches of snow by the end of the weekend.

Still, if it is going to snow anywhere in Colorado, it will be close to home in Steamboat.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction indicates a weak surface front will skirt Northwest Colorado on Sunday afternoon and evening.

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"Any precipitation that occurs from this passing wave will be light snow primarily over the Elkhead, Flat Tops and Park/Gore ranges," a forecast discussion by meteorologists in Grand Junction reads.

The forecast discussion added that the unseasonably warm daytime temperatures are expected to moderate into the low 40s by Monday.

Temperatures on Thanksgiving night between 8,000 and 9,000 feet on Mount Werner were cold enough for snowmaking crews to add to the base on Steamboat's Heavenly Daze trail, which opened Friday.

To the north, Mount Bachelor outside of Bend, Ore., had accumulated 17 inches of snow in the 72 hours preceding Friday morning, and Bald Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho, had received 8 inches in the same time frame.

Closer to home in the Yampa River drainage, the moisture stored in the snow on the ground was 64 percent of average for the date, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. North of Steamboat Springs, on the edge of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, the snowpack at the Elk River measuring site stood at 60 percent of average.

The percentages could change rapidly as it is very early in the water year that began Oct. 1.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com