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Old 07-16-2007, 07:28 AM
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Hi! I am really wanting to take my family to the USA (we are in England) in December of this year. We have flights booked and 2 nights in New York (from Dec 16th) then we wish to take an internal flights to somewhere snowy, for 2 weeks until after New Year. But we really would like to see snow...I have been searching all over the USA and get the feeling unless we go to Alaska (which we were okay with until we realised it was a 9 hour minimum flight from NYC, and as our youngest child is 2 we thought that was just too much so soon after a long haul from England!) we will struggle!
Several people have said Colorado is most likely to have snow....so is this right? Is snow very likely in Colorado in late December? The Rocky mountains are there, so I assume that the higher the elevation the more likely the snow, and I have seen many pics of snowy Rockies, BUT is it possible to get up into the mountains to 'visit' the snow if there is not much around in the towns?! HELP!
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Old 07-16-2007, 07:44 AM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Question # 1: I'm not sure if Colorado is MOST likely to have snow at Christmas, if by that you mean more likely than any other place. Wyoming is farther north, and I have seen inches of snow on the ground in the Wyo mts in JULY! But yes, there will be snow in the Colo Rockies in December. Colo is more "developed" than Wyo, so I would say it would be your best bet.

# 2: Yes, you can get to the mtns in the winter. The ski industry is BIG, BIG here, so an attempt is made to have the roads open in all except the very worst conditions.

You might stay in the Boulder/Denver area and drive up to the mts. Rentals at the ski areas are expensive, and may be all booked soon. And who knows? It may snow down here in the Denver area.
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Old 07-16-2007, 07:46 AM
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In a normal, average climate year ... there will be plenty of snow in the foothills and the mountain areas. From the end of November onward, the ski areas typically have good snow cover. The snowiest months are later, in Feb-Mar-April, but now we're talking relative amounts of total snowfall on top of snowfall.

In an exceptional year ... there may be a lot more snow than that ... or there could be a lot less. But it's reasonable to expect a fair amount of snow along the Front Range and up into the very close by mountains.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:02 AM
Location: New Zealand
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While snow in the foothills and plains (read: Denver, Boulder, CO Springs) may be a hit or miss proposition anytime in the winter, I'll go out on a limb and say that you are guaranteed to see snow in the mountains.

As pittnurse said, the state tries to keep the roads clear and open as much as possible for tourism. Unless the weather is really bad, you can easily drive about an hour west of Denver and get great snowy views. Keep an eye on the CDOT website for road conditions. Avoid weekends due to heavy traffic.

Some general pointers about winter travel:
  • Keep your speed in check -- you never know if/when you're going to hit a snow-blown patch or black ice around a curve.
  • Brake early and often -- 4WD does not mean you can stop faster.
  • But don't go too slow -- on uphill snowpacked roads, you do need a certain minimum speed to keep going.
  • Slow down BEFORE you enter a curve.
  • If possible, keep a shovel in your car -- I've encountered out-of-state visitors who spun out and got stuck in a snowbank without any means of digging themselves out, on clear and sunny days. Fortunately I had my shovel to be able to help out.
Below are some early-winter pictures of the CO Rockies from previous years...

December 10, 2003, Loveland ski area:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Skiing_2003/Skiing_Loveland_13.jpg (broken link)

November 2, 2004, Berthoud Pass:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Family_Visit/Panorama01-medium.jpg (broken link)

November 26, 2004, Main Street, Frisco:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski_Summit/Ski_Summit-070.jpg (broken link)

December 20, 2005, Tea Cup Bowl, Vail:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2005-2006/VailPowder/VailEpicPowder-29.jpg (broken link)

December 21, 2005, Union Bowl, Copper:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2005-2006/AllSeason/AllSeason-19.jpg (broken link)

October 28(!), 2006, Loveland ski area:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2006-2007/2006-10-28-Loveland/Loveland-Oct-28-03.jpg (broken link)

December 2, 2006, Imperial Bowl, Breck:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2006-2007/2006-12-02-Breck/Breck-3.jpg (broken link)

December 10, 2006, South Bowl, Keystone:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2006-2007/2006-12-10-BootCamp/BobBarnesBootCamp-07.jpg (broken link)

December 22, 2006, view from I-70/Genesee exit:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2006-2007/2006-12-22-Vail/2006-12-22-Vail-02.jpg (broken link)

December 26, 2006, Sawatch Range from Vail:
http://www.syedfaisal.com/Photo_Albums/Ski-2006-2007/2006-12-26-Vail/2006-12-26-Vail-16.jpg (broken link)
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Looking4snow View Post
The Rocky mountains are there, so I assume that the higher the elevation the more likely the snow, and I have seen many pics of snowy Rockies, BUT is it possible to get up into the mountains to 'visit' the snow if there is not much around in the towns?! HELP!
Colorado is a big state. Parts of it like Denver will probably be brown at Christmas, but if you go up to above 7,000 feet, basically where any of the ski resorts are, you should have snow.
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:51 AM
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Colorado's lower elevations are relatively unlikely to have a white Christmas--most lower elevations' probability of a white Christmas is statistically about one year in four.

The higher elevations are likely to have snow, but often not much. Over much of Colorado, December is the driest month of the year. That is why the ski areas have invested so much in snowmaking equipment--without it they may get "skunked" on having enough snow to open for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The big snow months in most of Colorado are actually towards spring. In most places, March and April are the snowiest months.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:50 PM
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The winter of 2006-2007 was considered an unusual winter in that the snow
came early to the Front Range (26 Oct, and bizzards on 20 Dec and 26 Dec).
These pictures are on 20 and 21 Dec 2006. A very white Christmas indeed.

1. The Charley Brown Christmas Tree (not pretty, but it has CHARACTER!).

2. Drift at front of garage door, which faces south, i.e., snow driven from
the north will pile up on the south facing side of a property.

3. Effect of drifting on south facing side of house, the side I have to shovel. Oy!
Yes, it's chest high there.

4. Ready for Santa. Hey Santa...howzebout a case of good Merlot, if your out,
a Pinot Noir will do, not really picky, you got any Chardonnay on that damn sled...

Last edited by Mike from back east; 07-16-2007 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:56 PM
Location: New Zealand
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The unusual winter storms we got in Denver early last winter, if I recall correctly, were upslope storms. Upslope storms usually come in spring, and hit the foothills and plains much harder than the high country.
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:52 PM
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we had a great christmas in winter park, co. about 10 years ago. very nice and the condo rentals are not too crazy priced. It also seemed just a great place for kids and handicapped folks. the narrow gauge train ride would be a great christmas trip too.

after all of these years, I still have the Colorado fever, and that is why I am on these forums. Winter Park. Any Colorado (ites) (ians) wanna chime in for his guaranteed white Christmas?
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Old 07-21-2007, 10:02 PM
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Snow in Denver at Christmas?

You need to go to Vegas to get the real odds.

Fact is, snow in Denver is extemely variable, probably more so than most cold winter areas in the U.S.

Yes, last winter was a "dousy"....huge dumps multiple times.

But other winters bring occasional moderate storms in between warm, sunny weather.

Very unpredictable. My guess for December 25, 2007: Either 27 degrees and several inches on the ground, or 62 degrees and golfers teeing it up.
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