Early season powder continues to favor Colorado ski resorts, and it doesn’t appear to be stopping. A major storm blasted the mountains last weekend, dumping between 9 and 23 inches at the resorts to cap off a snowy Thanksgiving holiday.

Whiteout is a weekly newsletter on all things skiing, snowboarding and snow in Colorado’s high country. Each week, we’ll break down snow totals, storm and avalanche forecasts, special events in the mountains and ski industry news. Sign up for free here.

The first of three storms this week has made its way through the state, sprinkling 2 to 7 inches of fresh snow in the central and northern mountains, OpenSnow forecaster Joel Gratz reported.

The second is sweeping through the southern half of the state and beginning to migrate north. Most areas of the Western Slope should have 5 to 10 inches of snow, with freshies in the southern mountains Friday morning and in the central and northern part of the state Saturday.

The final of the three storms is slated to hit Colorado on Sunday night through Monday, with 4 to 10 inches possible in the southern mountains. Winds could push most of the snow in the northern and central mountains east closer to the foothills near Front Range cities, Gratz wrote.

450 acres of new trails

Check out more than 450 acres of new terrain at A-Basin this weekend with the opening of The Beavers chairlift.

The four-person lift will serve 339 acres of groomers, glades and open bowls with an extra 129 acres of expert trails that require skiers to hike back 20 to 30 minutes to the bottom of the Pallavicini lift.

New terrain opening

Other resorts opened advanced and expert trails well ahead of Christmas vacation, with Vail touting the most skiable acres in North America:

Breckenridge: Peak 7 and Independence SuperChair (12/1), Imperial Express (earliest opening ever, 11/22), T-Bar, 6-Chair

Copper: America Eagle (12/1)

Crested Butte: Silver Queen Express (earliest opening in 20 years)

Keystone: Hike-to access in the Bergman, North and South bowls, North Peak, The Outback

Vail: Blue Sky Basin (earliest opening since 2002). Back Bowls, China Bowl, Tea Cup Bowl, Siberia Bowl

Last day to buy an Epic Pass is Sunday! Ikon Passes will be available for purchase until Dec. 13.

Whiteout is a weekly newsletter on all things skiing, snowboarding and snow in Colorado’s high country. Each week, we’ll break down snow totals, storm and avalanche forecasts, special events in the mountains and ski industry news. Sign up for free here.

Backcountry beckonings

An avalanche fully buried a skier outside Aspen Mountain on Saturday. The skier was touring with a partner in the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours permit area when he was buried at the base of a tree, a report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said.

His partner found the skier with their beacon and was able to dig him out. He was conscious and uninjured, the report said.

This was the first major burial of the season in Colorado and thankfully did not hurt or kill anyone. It’s a chilling reminder, though, that avalanches are always a danger. Between Nov. 23 and 25, observers reported 38 backcountry avalanches. An additional 17 were reported by Wednesday morning.

Even those with guiding certifications are at-risk, so it’s important to practice beacon searches and rescues, check the CAIC avalanche forecast and have your touring partner’s back at all times.

This weekend’s new snow will increase avalanche danger Saturday into Sunday, so be wary of aspects 35 degrees and above with big deposits of new snow.

For more information, go to http://avalanche.state.co.us.

Keep in Mind

A safe ski day includes the drive home, so be careful on the roads when these storms hit. Saturday afternoon, a 15-car pileup snarled traffic on eastbound I-70. So many cars were stuck on the interstate that plow trucks couldn’t get through. Summit County even opened two emergency shelters for stranded drivers.

Make sure your car is equipped with proper snow tires and chains, if necessary, as well as an emergency backpack with food, water, a flashlight, extra batteries and other essentials.

Whiteout is a weekly newsletter on all things skiing, snowboarding and snow in Colorado’s high country. Each week, we’ll break down snow totals, storm and avalanche forecasts, special events in the mountains and ski industry news. Sign up for free here.

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