While Denver has remained dry throughout January, just a short drive west and the conditions are vastly different.
The Colorado Rockies have been benefiting from a rather consistent snow cycle throughout January 2020. In between weak disturbances were stronger storms that brought several inches of snow at a time to mountain locations (not something that the Denver metro area can say!). Some of the bigger storms this month dumped over a foot of snow at a time and wreaked havoc on mountain roads and mountain passes.
As of January 21, Colorado's snowpack is sitting at 112 percent of normal. This is a measure of how much water is stored in the snow. We use the snowpack number to fill reservoirs across the state when snow begins to melt and, as a lot of us know, our snowpack here in Colorado is beneficial to a lot of people downstream, so this number is not just important to us but to residents of surrounding states as well.
Our snowpack has remained above average just about this entire water season and that doesn't look to change anytime in the future, which is great news.
Snowfall in January at Colorado Ski Areas, So Far:
- Arapahoe Basin Ski Area – 25"
- Aspen Highlands – 47"
- Monarch Mountain – 44"
- Steamboat Ski Resort – 65" (The most across the state!)
- Telluride Ski Resort – 31"
- Wolf Creek Ski Area – 39"
So, in all, the resorts are doing well with rather consistent snow this month, which they are all very excited about.
More Snow to Come?
Thanks to a persistent Northwest flow aloft, the mountains, especially the Northern Mountains, will see steady on-and-off snow showers through Friday before seeing a break in the weather. The Northwest flow aloft is referencing the Jet Stream winds and at what angle they are blowing at our mountains. One thing that's so cool about mountain weather is that even if there's not an organized storm rolling through, a simple wind direction is all it takes for these monstrous mountains to have an effect on the local weather.
The breaks we see won't last long, as another weak disturbance will push through the state on Saturday, once again bringing another round of light snow to the High Country.
In total, snowfall amounts won't be that impressive, but fresh snow is fresh snow.
In the North and Central Mountains, snowfall may exceed 10" in the higher elevations near Rabbit Ear's Pass, but more commonly 2-6" of snow will fall. In the Southern mountains, roughly the same amount of snow will fall. Between 2" and 6" of snow is expected for many ski area locations. This added snow will help keep our snowpack steady through the weekend.
Looking into next week, it looks like a decent storm may impact the state. Specifics of that are yet to be determined, but if it plays out how it currently looks, we're looking at great snow coming to Colorado.