One of our guides shoveling in the Park Range mountains on Christmas Eve
In addition to the special nature of the snow Steamboat receives, the volume is another amazing quality. The Park Range mountains, where we conduct our tours, receive the most winter precipitation in all of Colorado. The reason the Park Range receives the most precipitation is due to the way rain or snow is generated by mountains through orographic precipitation. Orographic precipitation is a term for the process by which moist air is forced up the slopes of mountains to produce rain or snow. Snowfall in our area is the result of storms that originate over the Pacific Ocean and travel inland, producing orographic precipitation in the mountains of California, Utah and Wyoming before reaching Colorado. Fortunately for us, there is a gap of relatively low terrain before Pacific storms reach the northern Colorado mountains. This results in moisture-rich clouds running perpendicularly into the Park Range, where they dump the brunt of their precipitation before traveling on. For a more thorough explanation of this phenomena, please take a look at the research paper “Why is the Park Range Colorado’s Snowfall Capital?” in Colorado Climate. Otherwise, you can come see us – we’d love to show you our record-breaking volume of snow firsthand.