STATE SNOWPACK HEALTHY
GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – Colorado’s snowpack has jumped to more than 100 percent above average which means runoff to reservoirs in the spring should be plentiful.With snowpack 117 percent above average as of Tuesday, runoff should be strong if the state sees even average snowfall for the rest of winter. Meteorologist Cory Gates says El Nino should bring even more water to the region, with a normal February and wet March and April on the horizon. The state’s snowpack is down from Dec. 20 when levels were 121 percent above average.
SKI AREAS PAY RECORD FEES IN WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST
ASPEN (AP) – Ski areas in the White River National Forest paid a record high amount of federal fees for use of public lands last year.Resorts paid just under $18 million during the 2015 fiscal year. That’s an increase of 12.5 percent over the previous fiscal year. White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams says ski areas paid heavily last year and receipts from ski area fees have shot up dramatically in the past few years. The fees collected in 2015 were about 45 percent higher than in fiscal year 2010. The money collected doesn’t go into the White River National Forest coffers, it goes directly to the U.S. Treasury.
COLORADO ROADS AND PASSES REOPENED AFTER STORM
DENVER (AP) – Red Mountain Pass back open after getting over 2 feet of snow from the storm that started over the weekend. The road between Ouray and Silverton closed Sunday night and re-opened yesterday. Crews fired a World War II howitzer to trigger avalanches along the roadway to prevent natural slides. The snow has moved out of Colorado but many schools are still closed today in the Colorado Springs area and on the Eastern Plains. All highways on the Plains have reopened, including Interstate 70.