Sep 11, 2023 - Climate

First snowfall arrives in Colorado

A fresh dusting of snow across Five Peaks at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Mclear/Breckenridge Ski Resort

Winter is coming.

What's happening: Several Colorado peaks, including Longs and Pikes, are sporting frosted tips after picking up the first snow of the season Monday morning.

  • More flakes are expected to fall, as another storm system moves into the mountains later this week.

Of note: The early dustings came later than usual, 9News reports. The state typically sees its first snow in the second half of August. Last year, the first snowfall was reported on Aug. 17.

Flashback: Last year, Colorado's traditional mid-October start to the ski season was delayed by warm weather, but the season ultimately ended with record snowpack levels.

What's next: Local meteorologists are predicting slightly above-average snowfall this season amid strong El Niño conditions developing in the Pacific Ocean, though they caution against relying on longer-range forecasts.

What they're saying: "Overall, history tells us that Colorado tends to be right around average for snowfall during El Niño winters, with the potential for a stronger start and end to the season," Sam Collentine, a Colorado-based meteorologist for the OpenSnow forecasting and reporting service, told the Denver Post.

  • His advice for skiers and snowboarders: "It's all about timing. To have the best chance of enjoying the deepest powder … book a trip seven to 10 days in advance," he said.

What we're watching: Which ski resort will open first. Keystone Resort is advertising "as early as possible in October," weather and conditions permitting, while Vail and Breckenridge are projecting opening dates of Nov. 10.

  • Arapahoe Basin was the first to open last year, on Oct. 23, followed by Keystone on Oct. 28.
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