Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Forecasting for Powder Addicts

Yesterday's storm brought 15-18" of snow to the mountain. A very welcome site indeed! Unfortunately the forecast is now showing a warming trend coming our way with a high temp of 39 degrees on Friday. Not ideal at all.

The few weeks before opening, we're all checking the forecast rather obsessively. We watch the forecasted temperatures to help plan our snowmaking operations. Dew points are also extremely helpful in snowmaking. And of course, we're always looking for that 100% chance of snow prediction. The thing is, forecasting is not a perfect science. While the crew at NOAA are incredibly good at their jobs, the weather will just do what it will do.

If you, like many skiers & riders, enjoy picking through the forecast to spot the next powder day here are the sources we use:

National Weather Service- Grand Junction
This is the point forecast for our location on the Grand Mesa. Within this web page there is a great depth of useful information. Click on the satellite images on the lower right of the page. This is what we watch to see what's coming our way and what is building out in the Pacific.

The Forecast Discussion at the bottom of the page gives you a more detailed weekly outlook.

The Colorado Powder Forecast is written by a skiing meteorologist who tends to keep the terminology to a reasonably understandable level.

The gang at the Grand Junction NOAA office held a meeting recently providing interesting information. According to what they're seeing, this should be a La Nina year. They presented this map to help explain what that means for us.
(Click to enlarge)

Baker- National Weather Service, Boulder, CO

Looks favorable for our area!

Our team is working diligently to open this mountain as soon as possible. What's most important to us is that we open with a safe, quality product. While receiving 15" of snow is very helpful, once it's packed with the snow cats (as we did last night), it's compressed to a few inches. Another storm and continued cool temperatures would be ideal. We'll keep you posted!

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