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.|
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