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Environment

Less Snow And Fewer Skiers

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

Warm weather for the mountains, but ski visits are down for 2013.

Colorado ski resorts are reporting a dip in early season skier visits.  

Colorado Ski Country USA is an industry trade group and reported Friday that  skier visits at its 21 member resorts through December 31 were down 11.5 percent compared to the same time period last season.

After a dry autumn which prompted some resorts to delay opening their seasons, more snow did fall in time for the busy traditionally December holiday period. But without snow in the forecast, the snowpack built up during December's storms is again falling behind average.

The Summit County area currently has only half as much snow as is normal for this time of the year — and the Colorado River Basin is sitting at 63 percent of average.

Some weather watchers are looking forward to a possible shift toward snowier weather at the end of the month, but forecasts are still uncertain as to the timing or amount of any snowfall.

The National Drought Monitor continues to classify conditions in Summit County as a severe drought.

State water experts have said Colorado needs a better-than-average snow year this winter to alleviate drought conditions.

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