The après work ski, youth ski teams, carving down a groomer as the wind brings tears to your eyes – one common thread, snow. When Ormes Peak Ski Resort is mentioned, the question of snow is the first topic brought into question. Is there enough snow to accommodate a ski resort? Yes. Ormes Peak has an abundance of snow and that is what makes après work ski, youth ski teams, and you flying down the steeps a real possibility.
From the urban thralls of Colorado Springs, Ormes is nearly hidden from view, making it difficult to see the vast quantity of snow blanketing its slopes. Unless you have hiked to the summit of Blodgett Peak in the winter, Ormes’ valleys remain a hidden winter wilderness. Once you lay eyes on Ormes Peak though, you have visible proof it receives more snowfall than Keystone Ski Resort.
Ski resorts publish and collect their own snowfall data. How each resort collects and reports this data varies though making it difficult to compare resorts. The National Weather Service (NWS) collects data across the entire nation and has no incentive to report extra snowfall. At Ormes we do not yet have a weather station, so let’s take a look at the NWS data   .
NWS data is collected for you, and as a result, it is collected where sufficient populations live, namely within towns. Below are the closest towns for NWS reporting for each ski resort. The NWS reports the annual snowfall averages using their historical data which goes back over 30 years. Using averaged NWS data, snowfall at Ormes lies somewhere between Keystone and Breckenridge . The important takeaway from the NWS data is that Ormes is comparable to the ski resorts we enjoy and are driving over 100 miles to visit.
Now, why is it that ski resorts report more snowfall than the NWS  ? There are two important elements, elevation and wind direction. We like to live where it’s sunny and warm, and protected from the wind. These elements are the polar opposite of what a ski resort desires – higher elevations where it’s colder, windier, and the uplift of mountain slopes increases precipitation.
In Colorado, wind direction often plays an even bigger role than elevation. Breckenridge’s snowfall is nearly entirely a result of storms from the northwest. The prevailing winds on the mountain are also from the west. As a result, the resort’s east facing orientation loads with snow from these storms, while Keystone, on the opposite side of the Valley, sees only two-thirds of that same snowfall! This is a similar tale for Beaver Creek and Vail where the more northerly the wind orientation of a storm, the more snowfall the resorts is likely to capture.
Ormes orientation, like all ski resorts, maximizes snowfall. Ormes Peak lies several thousand feet above Colorado Springs where its prominence and elevation result in increased snowfall. Ormes lodge is located near the top of the mountain at 9,728’. The base of Ormes’ Summit Lift, where night skiing and early season operations are proposed to occur, is at around 8,900’. Most of us are living almost 3,000’ lower at 6,035’ in the rain shadows of Pikes and Ormes Peaks.
Elevation benefits Ormes but its slope orientation is at least equally as important. The resort slopes lie on the Northern aspects of Ormes and Blodgett Peaks. The southerly storms that batter the Front Range and leave a foot on your driveway, deposit two feet on Ormes. This effect is even more pronounced for smaller storms which may leave only an inch or two in town but on Ormes, that same storm can leave over a foot.
The location of Ormes also benefits from Colorado Springs second snowfall pattern, storms from the North West. As a deep valley running from North to West, its Eastern facing slopes load during NW storms. The prominence of Blodgett to the East, the same prominence that hides the resort from view, also protects its Western facing slopes from being scoured by the wind. The high pressure that sits over Colorado Springs provides Ormes a second benefit during such storms. It causes them to stall over the mountain, giving them some additional time to unleash their white bounty.
Still not convinced? Take a hike up Blodgett Peak this weekend and you will become a supporter. Ready to ski Ormes?! Help us Crowd Fund Ormes Peak and let’s make this dream a reality! In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us to stay up to date on all of the great things Ormes has in store for you!
 US Daily Snowfall and Snow Depth Data (n.d.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 18 Jan 2016 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/snow-and-ice/daily-snow/
 Sterling’s Best Places (n.d.). Retrieved 22 Feb 2016 from http://www.bestplaces.net/climate/zip-code/
 Average Snowfall (n.d.). Weather Database. Retrieved 02 Feb 2016 from https://snowfall.weatherdb.com
 What’s Your Average Snowfall? (n.d.). Breckenridge Ski Resort. Retrieved 16 Jan 2016 from http://www.breckenridge.com/faqdetail/Snow-Stake-Cams/Whats-your-average-snowfall.axd
 Eldora. Colorado Ski (n.d.). Colorado Ski Country USA. Retrieved 13 Jan 2016 from http://www.coloradoski.com/resorts/eldora