Northern and Central Colorado

The mountains surrounding Summit County tend to concentrate the snow on the areas just outside (Vail, Winter Park, and Steamboat) at the expense of those inside (Copper, Breckenridge, and Keystone). March is the highest snowfall month at most areas. Arapahoe Basin, Berthoud Pass, and Loveland are located on the Continental Divide and are subject to a unique weather pattern in which moisture from the Great Plains generates extra snow in the spring, making both March and April the highest snowfall months here.

There are two tables below: The first contains all the statistics while the second contains summary information plus comments and analysis.
Color-coded areas link to my detailed Resort Guide published in Inside Tracks.
Explanation of Column Headings
Home Page and Other Regions

NORTHERN and Lift Serviced   Season Dec.-Mar. Percent Percent Average        
CENTRAL Altitude Season Standard 6+ Inch High Mths Low Mths Maximum Direction of Exposure
COLORADO Range Average Deviation Powder Days GE 90 in. LT 30 in. Base Depth North East West South
                       
Arapahoe Basin, Colo. 10,820 10,780-12,450 316 78 10.4% 6% 23% 79 55% 25% 15% 5%
Berthoud Pass, Colo. 11,315 11,300-12,300 314 59 11.5% 4% 12% 81 N/A
Loveland, Colo. 11,200 10,600-12,700 347 77 12.8% 12% 11% N/A 40% 30% 0% 30%
Beaver Creek, Colo. 11,200 8,100-11,440 328 64 12.3% 9% 13% 86 50% 30% 20% 0%
Steamboat, Colo. 9,200 6,900-10,500 371 85 14.3% 17% 9% N/A 20% 2% 55% 23%
Breckenridge 1, Colo. 11,100 9,200-12,804 283 66 11.4% 5% 18% 73 20% 60% 0% 20%
Breckenridge, Colo. 11,600 9,200-12,804 354 70 14.6% 21% 7% N/A 20% 60% 0% 20%
Copper Mtn, Colo. 11,000 9,600-12,360 281 62 10.7% 4% 21% 65 60% 25% 15% 0%
Keystone, Colo. 11,641 9,300-11,985 235 50 9.0% 0% 35% 59 47% 13% 30% 10%
Mary Jane at Winter Park, Colo. 10,800 9,000-12,060 349 67 13.5% 11% 10% 77 50% 10% 38% 2%
Vail, Colo. 11,250 8,200-11,450 358 75 14.1% 19% 10% 91 40% 20% 20% 20%
Winter Park Base, Colo. 9,265 9,000-12,060 213 51 8.5% 3% 38% 53 50% 10% 38% 2%

NORTHERN and Lift Serviced      
CENTRAL Altitude Season Weather Restrictions, Powder Potential  
COLORADO Range Average and Other Considerations Best Time to Ski
         
Arapahoe Basin, Colo. 10,820 10,780-12,450 316 Top lifts occasionally close for wind or white-out. Pallavicini area has trees to stay open. Average snowfall is 57 inches in April and 34 in May (over 80 in 1995). Compare to 26 and 7 at Mammoth or 38 and 8 at Mt. Bachelor, two other top spring areas. March/April are top snowfall months due to unique Continental Divide weather pattern. Excellent exposures for snow preservation.
Berthoud Pass, Colo. 11,315 11,300-12,300 314 Lift service removed but still popular area for backcountry skiers. Short hikes to access terrain. Highway aspect makes car/bus shuttles easy. Similar to Winter Park, with strong Continental Divide late season.
Loveland, Colo. 11,200 10,600-12,700 347 Day area situated near Loveland Pass, another popular car shuttle/hiking area. Top lifts occasionally close for wind or white-out. Little competition. Same Continental Divide weather pattern as A-Basin, but more variable exposure.
Beaver Creek, Colo. 11,200 8,100-11,440 328 Well protected. Less snow but much less competition than Vail. Similar to Vail, but less snowfall.
Steamboat, Colo. 9,200 6,900-10,500 371 High snowfall area with renowned tree-skiing right to top of mountain. Fewer skiers than Vail or Winter Park. People stopping to look at Billy Kidd can create hazards on crowded runs. Best in state in December/January for highest snowfall, but lowest elevation and worst exposure of Colorado destination resorts.
Breckenridge 1, Colo. 11,100 9,200-12,800 283 Long term data site no longer measuring after 2010 but is most representative of overall ski terrain. Local skiers say overall snowfall at comparable elevation is just slightly more than at Copper Mt. January/February for lower/middle terrain with least north exposure in Summit County.
Breckenridge 2, Colo. 11,600 9,200-12,800 354 New and ongoing data site since 1994 gets much more snow than most of the area. February-April for North America's most extensive high altitude terrain, which preserves snow extremely well.
Copper Mtn, Colo. 11,000 9,600-12,360 281 Northern exposures can make conditions here better than Breckenridge despite less snow. Not as much competition here as Breckenridge and Keystone. February/March for maximum coverage.
Keystone, Colo. 11,641 9,300-11,985 235 Heavy investment in snowmaking and grooming to guarantee good conditions, but northern exposures also help preserve limited snowfall. February/March for maximum coverage. Most extensive early season snowmaking in Colorado.
Mary Jane at Winter Park, Colo. 10,800 9,000-12,060 349 High snowfall, but trees and bowls not as extensive as Vail and Steamboat. Nearly anytime. Most consistent snowfall area in Colorado over past 20 years.
Vail, Colo. 11,250 8,200-11,450 358 Back bowls occasionally close for visibility, but rarely for wind or avalanche like the West Coast areas above timberline. Over 2,000 acres of high snowfall bowls, but tons of competition for powder. Second in overall reliability in Colorado. Back bowls open by Christmas 80% of the time. Spring conditions likely in back bowls by March, although also highest snow month.
Winter Park Base, Colo. 9,265 9,000-12,060 213 Base to upper mountain snowfall variation is typical for Colorado. Only Colorado area with snow data at both base/upper mountain. Other areas likely under 200 inches at base.

All content herein copyright 1996-2017 Bestsnow.net
All Rights Reserved.
No copies or reproductions may be made in whole or in part without express permission by Tony Crocker.
Prices for commercial users will be determined based upon intended use and distribution.