Typically Memorial Day weekend sees the first inflow of campers and anglers in the Colorado mountains, but this year the skiers and boarders may outnumber the campers. Continuous snow storms have prompted Aspen and Arapahoe Basin ski resorts to reopen ski trails for as long as the snow keeps falling.
Arapahoe Basin may even remain open on weekends through July 4th. Situated on the Continental Divide, Arapahoe Basin has enjoyed 420 inches of snow this season. Likewise, Aspen Mountain has received late-season snowfall and cold temperatures prompting the resort to open 25 ski runs to skiers and snowboarders for the Memorial Day weekend.
At Rocky Mountain National Park, massive snowdrifts have postponed the traditional opening of Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States that snakes over the Continental Divide at an elevation of 12,000 feet. The park’s snowplow drivers claim they haven’t encountered this much snow in 30 years. A snowstorm last week produced 17-foot snowdrifts, and there was 114 inches of snow at Lake Irene near Milner Pass. Park visitors should be aware of hazards not usually encountered in late May, such as snow bridges covering mountain streams, steep snow slopes, and thin ice over other water sources. The park’s three campgrounds are filled for the three-day holiday weekend, and “avalanche danger remains a concern,” park managers said in a new release.