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Cold, wet weather could pause for weekend warmup in Garfield County

Sunlight Mountain Resort staff ready for winter storm

Snow and rain are forecast across the valley Wednesday and Thursday as a passing low-pressure system drops temperatures across the Western Slope, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

“We’re in the storm track moving in from the Pacific Northwest,” NWS Meteorologist Megan Stackhouse said. “It’s kicking in systems off the gulf of Alaska and the northwest. Thankfully, we’re in a favorable pattern that allows it to track into our area.”

Although October is nearly half over, Stackhouse said Glenwood Springs has received only about a quarter-inch of precipitation so far. The area’s October average is about an inch-and-a-half, she said.



For the Sunlight Mountain Resort staff, the winter storm is a welcome sight.

“We always get stoked when the leaves start turning, weather gets cold, flakes start flying,” said Troy Hawks, Sunlight’s sales and marketing director. “Your heart skips a beat as you realize the season is right around the corner.”



With snow already dusting Sunlight’s slopes, Hawks’ staff installed a snow stake Tuesday to calculate the week’s snowfall.

“A snow stake sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot of little things that go into it,” he said.

Rather than install the stake at the top of Compass Mountain, which peaks at about 9,800 feet, Hawks said his crews had their eyes on a location tucked into an outcropping of pines about two-thirds up the mountain, near 9,000 feet.

“The wind we’ve been getting with these recent storms pushes all the snow off the stake,” he said. “So it has to be in an area protected from the wind, but not so closed-off that it doesn’t get any snowfall.”

People can visit the resort’s Facebook page for more updates on the snow settling onto the ski trails.

Not everyone at the resort sees the early snows as a good sign, however. Hawks said some of the “old-timers” believe October snows could make for a poor snow season later in the year.

Regardless, he said his crews are keeping their hopes high and remaining optimistic for a high-quality skiing season.

Up to a half-inch of snow could fall in Glenwood Springs between Wednesday and Thursday night, with Thursday morning having the highest chance for snow, Stackhouse said.

“We probably won’t get more than some showers Thursday afternoon, but temperatures will drop down to their coldest Friday night,” she said.

Starting Saturday, daytime temperatures could get up to the 50s, and warmer in the days following, but another system is on the way next week, Stackhouse said.

“It might cool off again next week,” she said. “But there’s a low chance for precipitation.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.


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