The Snow Blog: Christmas comes early for Colorado ski resorts
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Snow cam from Aspen Mountain's Sunduck Restaurant Thursday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Aspen Mountain.

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UPDATE 11:25 a.m. Dec. 22

After receiving 8 inches of snow Thursday night, Wolf Creek opened 90 percent of its terrain.

Where to Ski This Weekend

Snow is back in Colorado, and just in time for the start of holiday vacation.

Although the highest snow totals are expected to be in the northern mountains, the Interstate 70 corridor won’t miss out on the pow. Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Vail and Beaver Creek are predicted to see 10 inches of snow through Saturday, with another 4 to 6 inches on the way before Christmas, OpenSnow reported.

Fair warning: The holidays are one of Summit County’s busiest times of years, with visitors heading to the mountains from across Colorado and the country. Be prepared for I-70 traffic and longer lift line wait times.

For those willing to drive the distance to escape the I-70 corridor crowds and Summit County lift ticket prices, head down to Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek, a small resort near Pagosa Springs that boasts some of the highest snow totals on average in the state, is expected to receive 7 inches of snow through Saturday, then stay dry through Christmas.

Sixty percent of Wolf Creek’s total terrain is open, compared with Breckenridge’s 12 percent of skiable terrain. With 47 of 78 skiable trails and seven of nine running lifts, skiers should expect plenty of fresh turns at one of Colorado’s hidden gems.

Full day lift tickets for adults ages 13 to 64 are $70, seniors ages 65 to 79 are $41 and kids 6 to 12 are $36. Active duty military, including spouses and children, are $48, $31 and $26, respectively. Kids 5 and under are $6, while seniors above 79 years old ski free.

12 Days of Aspen

Colorado resorts will be decked out for the holidays this weekend, but Aspen is spreading extra holiday cheer with its 12 Days of Aspen annual event.

Every day between Dec. 20 and the New Year, downtown Aspen will have a full lineup of activities for all ages, from concerts at Belly Up Aspen, cookie decorating, carriage rides with Santa & Mrs. Claus and the Winter Film Series.

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are expected to get 11 inches of snow through Saturday and another 3 to 4 inches through Christmas Day, so those trekking to Aspen for the festivities also should expect fresh snow on the slopes.

Forecast

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Specific snow forecasts for the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a bit unclear, said OpenSnow meteorologist Joel Gratz, but generally, Coloradans should be getting excited.

Gratz’s forecast includes “a little surprise Christmas morning,” with light snow in the northern mountains late Sunday night through midday Monday.

“The rest of next week looks active as well,” Gratz wrote, saying some models show light snow sticking around in the northern mountains, while others predict “a solid storm” hitting the entire state Thursday, Dec. 28.

“It’s too soon to know, but I am excited that the pattern is active and we have storms to talk about every few days or even more frequently,” said Gratz.

Those with the Epic Local Pass be advised that Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood are restricted 11/24/17-11/25/17, 12/26/17-12/31/17, 1/13/2018, 2/17/18-2/18/18.

Twitter: @lizmforster

Phone: 636-0193

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast. Liz joined The Gazette in June 2017.

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