With over 12" in the last 24 hours by 5:30 am, I had to take a few hours off work this morning and get some turns. It was raining with considerable enthusiasm when I left my house at 8:00am, so I hoped that this would translate into even more snow at the ski area, about 4,000 feet higher, by opening at 9:00 am.
It was certainly snowing when I got there, but sampling a handfull suggested it wasn't exactly blower powder. Still, there was certainly a lot of it, and it was snowing hard enough that I didn't bother to try to take any pictures. I was concerned that it might be challenging skiing, though.
I needn't have worried. Although it was heavy and a little wet, it was hero snow, at least before it got all chewed up. The skis floated right to the surface, and it felt like silk. Turning was as easy as tipping down the hill and letting the skis find the fall line. Tree skiing remained excellent all morning, since many skiers didn't trust their turns enough to ski in the trees. I found it easy and soft, with no problem accurately setting an arc between trees with branches no more than a couple of feet apart. Challenging moments came here and there when the skis attemped to drive through a lump rather than over it, slowing down abruptly. Still no real worries, just a little rebalancing required.
It got more challenging once the wet snow was skied up. It set up into heavy clumps. Still quite skiable, but more demanding. Put 'em on edge and slice 'n' dice.
I left at noon to go to work.
For those flying west to catch some last-minute turns, you might want to change your focus from Colorado to the Pacific Northwest or British Columbia. Several ski areas have announced extended seasons. Check the web sites. Whitewater has a base of more than 11 feet, and they're not alone.
The forecast calls for more rain at lower elevations, which means snow higher up.