Powder Predictor

Pineapple Express blows into Aspen

By Reid Griebling
Real AspenDecember 18, 2010
Continued moisture streams into Colorado under a "Pineapple Express" type flow. Ten inches fell at Vail in the past 72 hours, while Beaver Creek reported 11. Aspen/Snowmass reported a foot in the past 72 hours.

Skiing at Vail/Beaver Creek has been outstanding, as snow keeps coming in three to four day intervals. This pattern should stay with us much of the next week, as we see strong west flow bringing lots of moisture into the inter-mountain west this weekend (Dec. 18-20).

Strong west winds will bring high clouds into our area today as numerous bits of energy move in and through Colorado over the weekend. As of now it looks like the central and southern mountains will benefit most from this pattern; however, there are enough dynamics and moisture to produce good amounts of snowfall for the northern resorts.

Aspen/Snowmass is in the line of fire for much of the weekend as moderate snowfall on Saturday will turn heavy overnight for a good chance of a deep day Sunday.

Vail/Beaver Creek will see the same weather, but the direction of the pattern benefits Beaver Creek more so than Vail (west/southwest flow).

Temps for much of the Western Slope will remain mild for this time of year as on-mountain highs for the weekend will be in the 20's with overnight lows in the teens.

Winds will be brisk at times as these separate storms move through. Expect winds in 15-20 mph range during storm passage with ridge top gusts in the 40 mph range. Overall winds should be in the 10-15 mph range for much of the weekend.

Snow totals for Vail/Beaver Creek look reasonable, as some forecasters are calling for large numbers on Sunday into Monday. I believe that the morning report for Sunday will be in the 4-8 inch range at Vail/Beaver Creek and 5-10 at Aspen/Snowmass.

Sunday night into Monday looks like the best chance at a big day; however, I think much of the snow will stay in the central and southern mountains. Aspen/Snowmass should expect another 5-10 inches by Monday morning, as snow will fall much of the day Sunday.

Vail/Beaver Creek should expect another 3-6 overnight into Monday, favoring Beaver Creek. Things will change in the next 24 hours, but models show that the southern mountains should finally see significant snowfall arrive just before Christmas time.

Finally, the holiday season begins this weekend as guests arrive for some wintry fun. Please be careful and watch out for your fellow snow riders as ski trails will become busier and lift lines will become longer.

For the locals ,we have been lucky enough to have our fair share of powder days before the crowds show; now it's our time to shine, to make our guests happy, and to show them why we all live in the mountains.

For our guests, remember to travel safely as winter driving can sneak up on even the most seasoned driver. Also, don't forget that you're on vacation; let the stress of the office and city life pour off your back like scotch over ice.

The snow in Colorado is incredible. Take your time to get here, and when you do, don't forget to look around you and take in what the Colorado Rockies have to offer (think "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver).

A white Christmas is in store for much of Colorado, but for now, lets enjoy the snowfall and the adventure that the mountains bring out in all of us.

Enjoy!


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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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