With well-above average snowfall for most of the state, the 2018/2019 ski season in Colorado has gone off with a bang! The snowpacks in several regions have exceeded what most are familiar with considering it’s not even December.
Word got out that a one-two combo of storms would descend on the state over the holiday weekend, with targets on the backs of Steamboat, Aspen and Crested Butte.
However, it was at the continental divide where this storm showed its strength. Arapahoe Basin’s official 5:00 AM snow-stake report, at 8″, displayed the highest overnight total in the state. With a couple additional inches by the time lifts opened, the entire mountain skied well.
By 9:30 AM, a modest line stacked up at the bottom of Pallavicini waited patiently for one of the best moments of the year. Those who knew, at least enough to know to be there, knew the treat they were in for. Initially Slalom Slope, Grizzley Road, and Radical opened, providing some of the first inbounds, thigh-deep turns of the season.
The storm continued to blow in with accelerated winds, depositing deep drifts and opening terrain typically inaccessible for November. Road closures and difficult driving conditions prompted many to leave early, however, those who stay around were rewarded with more terrain openings. Early afternoon saw rope drops on Standard, 13 Cornices and lower International.
As COO of Arapahoe Basin, Al Henceroth stated:
“When it is snowing this hard and the snow is this deep, it is hard to capture good images.”
This may have had to do more with the unwillingness to stop for a picture than actual conditions, however, we can confirm that it was, in fact, snowing hard for most of the day.
And with snowfall continuing until lifts closed, the last chair, with no crowd was perhaps better than first. International was easily holding 20″, and only starting to get tracked when the day ended, leaving the door wide open for those additional Thanksgiving leftovers on Sunday.