A major snowstorm has blanketed Colorado ski resorts with fresh powder just in time for opening day at many resorts, according to Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA).


A potent combination of moisture and arctic air left significant amounts of new snow throughout the high country over the last couple of days. Central and southwestern resorts are experiencing the brunt of the storm, which was expected to continue through Thursday.


Snowfall was extremely heavy Tuesday and Wednesday. The photograph to the right shows powder continuing to accumulate at a rate of two inches per hour in Telluride Wednesday. The resort had recorded 16 inches of snow by late Wednesday as the snow continued to fall.


From Tuesday to late Wednesday, Wolf Creek received 19 inches of new snow, Monarch and Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort measured 18 inches with snow still falling, Ski Cooper reported 15 inches Wednesday morning, and Crested Butte reported a foot of new snow.


As of Wednesday evening 15.5 inches of new powder fell at Loveland, Arapahoe Basin reported 14 inches of new snow, Aspen/Snowmass received more than a foot of new snow, with more expected through tomorrow, Sunlight recorded 12 inches of new snow, Steamboat received 9.5 inches with more on the way, Winter Park and Eldora each received 9 inches, Howelsen recorded 8.5 inches, Powderhorn received 8 inches, and Copper reported 7 inches.


Recent weather patterns have accelerated the scheduled openings of several CSCUSA member resorts, and will improve opening day conditions at many resorts.


Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort will open for the season on Friday, Dec. 6, Powderhorn will open Saturday, Dec. 7, Ski Granby Ranch will open for the season on Wednesday, Dec. 11, and Ski Cooper will open this weekend and will open for the season on Saturday, Dec. 14. Total recorded snowfall has already exceeded 100 inches for the season at Loveland; Aspen/Snowmass and Steamboat are zeroing in on this benchmark and may surpass it before this storm subsides, and many other CSCUSA resorts are close behind.