Where to Ski This Weekend

Last weekend’s storm surprised those lucky enough to ski Tuesday.

The storm lingered just east of the Continental Divide, dropping 3 to 7 inches of snow on Loveland, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora despite predictions that snow would dissipate by Monday night, OpenSnow forecast Joel Gratz wrote.

The next chance for snow will arrive Thursday late afternoon with the potential for double-digit totals in high-elevation areas.

“This storm is an atmospheric river, a name given to a system that brings in a LOT of moisture, usually from the sub-

tropical Pacific Ocean,” Gratz wrote. “Since moisture is the fuel for snow, we MIGHT see a lot of snow at the highest elevations.”

Higher elevation resorts--Telluride, Wolf Creek, Monarch, Copper, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, etc.-- could surpass Gratz’s usual 4 to 8-inch forecast. Breckenridge’s Imperial Express SuperChair, which reaches 12,840 feet, may be the lift to lap, if winds aren’t too strong.

At that elevation, make sure to drink plenty of water and breathe easy.

For Gratz’s full forecast, head to OpenSnow’s Colorado report.

Snowpack Concerns

As a weekend ski warrior, fresh snow has not posed much of a problem since the start to 2018. Yes, I’ve hit a couple rocks, much to the dismay of my edges. For the most part, though, I’ve found stashes of fresh powder at the resorts and in the backcountry.

The numbers tell a different story, though, one that’s more serious than Arapahoe Basin closing in May instead of June. As of Wednesday, Colorado’s snowpack is only at 66 percent of average and 60 percent of last year.

In Colorado Springs, the consequences were evident with last week’s 3,300-acre fire in the southern part of El Paso County. In addition, nearly 30,000 acres burned across southeastern Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

My prayers to Ullr have shifted from hoping I can ski the Three Pigs line on the backside of Pikes Peak to wondering how soon this year’s first major fire breaks out on the Western Slope or Front Range.

Photo of the Week

Have a great photo from out on the slopes? Send it to liz.forster@gazette.com for the chance to be featured as photo of the week. Here’s this week’s pick.

Great Divide Grinder

Longing for mountain bike season but don’t want to give up the snow just yet?

Grab your fat bike and head to Monarch Mountain Saturday for the Great Divide Grinder Fat Bike Race.

The 7-mile race up, over and around Monarch Mountain Ski Area trails is another iteration of the fat biking phenomenon that provides cyclists with wintertime access to areas where bikes rarely had gone before. Their use has expanded beyond wintertime to mud season and, eventually, summertime, singletrack riding.

The $40 registration fee for the race benefits Salida Mountain Trails, a nonprofit that builds and maintains sustainable, non-motorized, multi-user trails near Salida. The organization has created around 23 miles of trails with many more miles to come.

Participants receive a Sombrio jersey, an $80 value, and can enter to win plenty of other prizes.  

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