More snow days ahead could add to above average snowpack for Colorado River watershed

Snow removal crews wait for a dump truck while clearing snow along Ninth Street in downtown Glenwood Springs on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/ Post Independent file

Snow dances and prayers that echoed across the West Slope during the early season dry spell paid off tenfold, and even more winter is coming, the National Weather Service reports.

Glenwood Springs could see up to 5 inches of snow Wednesday with a chance for more snow Thursday and Saturday, NWS Meteorologist Norv Larson said.

“It’s always interesting that it tends to warm up as a cold front comes through,” Larson said, explaining the temperatures could get as high as 46 degrees Friday.

According to SNOTEL reports, most of western Colorado is experiencing above average snowpack with the upper Colorado River watershed, which includes Garfield County, clocking in at about 126% of typical snow water equivalent measurements, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported.

With fresh snow on the ground, temperatures drop without cloud cover, but as new storms roll in, the clouds help keep the air warmer, he explained.

Snow could fall Wednesday morning, but is most likely Wednesday afternoon and evening. On Thursday, the chances for snow are spotty, but Larson said they are highest in the afternoon.

Friday will likely be clear, but a second system floating over the mountains could hit Glenwood Springs on Saturday and clear out by Sunday.

“You guys are in a unique position,” Larson said. “It’s so tight in the valley that weather has a tendency to flop right over the mountains.”

Wind gusts of about 30 mph could accompany Wednesday’s snow, but Larson said sustained wind was unlikely.

The NWS does not have a record for December snowfall in Glenwood Springs.

Glenwood Springs Fire Department recently reminded residents via Facebook that fire hydrants near houses need to be maintained by clearing snow in a 3-foot perimeter, allowing access if a nearby fire were to occur.

Sunlight Mountain Resort, on the other hand, measures snow daily, and reported about 60 inches fell from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1.

“Some of the locals have said they haven’t seen a storm cycle like that in decades,” said Troy Hawks, the resort’s sales and marketing manager.

Fresh snow is great for business, and Hawks said the resort set another record for season pass sales this season. Additionally, the resort experienced a record high sales day during the holidays, which includes all sales at the resort — lift tickets, rentals and food sales, he said.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at

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