Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

New snow means longer ski season for some resorts

Staff reports Updated: April 16, 2013 at 12:00 am 0

DENVER — It's the ski season that won't quit.

A slow-moving storm that has brought snow and high winds to Colorado and Wyoming through at least Wednesday morning has also given at least four Colorado ski resorts an excuse to restart their lifts for one more weekend of skiing.

Vail Mountain, Breckenridge Mountain Resort and Copper Mountain Resort held closing day festivities last Sunday, but when it didn't stop snowing, all three said they will reopen some terrain this Friday through Sunday.

Vail said it's had 2 more feet of snow since closing day, Breckenridge has had 16 inches, and Copper said it got more than a foot.

"Mother Nature is a fickle business partner, and apparently she wasn't ready for the ski season to be over," Copper Mountain general manager Gary Rodgers said in a written statement Tuesday.

Aspen Highlands, which was scheduled to close this Sunday, has already said it would reopen April 27-28.

Winter Park was assessing whether to extend its season past its closing day Sunday, spokeswoman Rachel Anderson said.

The Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski areas traditionally stay open well into the spring. A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth mused this week that his ski area could stay open past June 2 if the snow keeps up.

The storm helped boost mountain snowpack that provides water for farmers and cities through the summer, but it also stranded some drivers.

The first round of the storm came Monday, when Cheyenne, Wyo., received 6.9 inches of snow, breaking the old record of 6 inches set back in 1890. The snow also postponed the opening game of the Colorado Rockies-New York Mets series in Denver. After Rockies co-owner Dick Monfort and others pitched in to dig out Coors Field, the teams squeezed in a doubleheader Tuesday.

Blowing snow closed a 150-mile section of Interstate 80 in Wyoming and caused delays at Denver International Airport as planes were de-iced Tuesday.

"Our crews can easily keep that road surface sustainable for travel, but if the wind comes up and you start get drifting and visibility problems then really you can't plow fast enough to fix that, so it can be a losing battle at times," Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Bruce Burrows said.

The storm forced some Wyoming colleges and schools to close early Tuesday, and some state government meetings were canceled. Even a "Storm Spotter Training" session in Lander was canceled, according to the National Weather Service.

Areas to the south got strong winds from the system, making it easier for wildfires to spread in the dry areas.

A 33-mile stretch of Interstate 40 in northern Arizona was closed because of strong winds and reduced visibility.

In southwest Colorado, the La Plata Electric Association said blustery winds that downed trees and branches were believed to have caused outages affecting hundreds of customers Tuesday.

April is typically the second-snowiest month for Colorado.

The snowpack in both Colorado and Wyoming is below average but has risen in the last week to 77 percent of average.

The storm system is expected to pick up speed as it moves east into the Great Lakes on Friday. It should move off the East Coast on Saturday, National Weather Service forecaster Jeff Colton said.

___

Associated Press writers Bob Moen in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Catherine Tsai in Denver contributed to this report.

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