Both questions are highly speculative this far out, of course, but we did check with the National Weather Service to see what they’re thinking about Colorado mountain snowfall prospects during ski season. We also reached out to ski areas for their projected opening dates.
Based on ocean temperature data in the equatorial Pacific, climate experts believe a mild La Niña winter may be in the offing for North America. La Niña years generally favor our northern mountains for snowfall, while El Niño years generally mean our southern mountains do better.
“I think for the northern mountains like Steamboat Springs — pretty much anything Summit County and northward — I would expect at, or slightly above, normal snowfall,” said Scott Entrekin, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Boulder. “The ones that won’t do that well will be the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado; they’ll typically tend to be drier in a La Niña winter.”
Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are hoping to open in October, with Keystone not far behind.
Here’s what ski areas are telling us about their projected opening dates, all of which is subject to change:
Colorado ski resorts projected opening dates
Arapahoe Basin: mid-October
Loveland: Mid to late October
Keystone: Nov. 6
Breckenridge: Nov. 13
Winter Park: Nov. 18
Vail: Nov. 20
Purgatory: Nov. 21
Steamboat: Nov. 21
Eldora: Nov. 23
Beaver Creek: Nov. 25
Crested Butte: Nov. 25
Aspen Mountain: Nov. 26
Silverton: Heli-skiing, Nov. 26; lift-served, Dec. 26
Snowmass: Nov. 26
Telluride: Nov. 26
Copper Mountain: Nov. 30
Sunlight: Dec. 11
Aspen Highlands: Dec. 12
Buttermilk: Dec. 18
No announcement yet: Cooper, Echo Mountain, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Howelsen Hill, Kendall Mountain, Monarch, Powderhorn, Wolf Creek.
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