(A layman’s primer on great ski snow, for my coastal friends.)
This winter in Colorado has been drop-dead gorgeous for skiing. What makes for good ski snow, my flatlander California friends might ask? LOTS of snow, concurrently with cold temperatures. The quantity of snow covers all the rocks and trees on ski slopes. If you’ve ever hiked on a ski slope in the summer, particularly the steep ones, you might have found it hard to believe you could EVER cover it with enough snow to ski on. (I know, not exactly rocket science.)
Cold temperatures keep the snow light and ‘dry’, making it soft even when packed down and light enough to easily push skis through and over. Colorado snow from the ocean to the west and northwest has lost a lot of its moisture by the time it crosses several mountain ranges to get here. Snowflakes fall and retain much of their light crystalline nature when it’s cold. If temperatures warm the snow starts to melt, getting heavy with less crystal and more water. It’s hard to push around with skis when it gets slushy. (We call it Spring Skiing in late March and April.) If you’ve ever shoveled a snow-covered driveway in freezing temps in January, it’s easy to push. The same driveway with warm, wet March snow is a back-breaker. (Brain surgery, this part. I made it all up.)
But enough about nuke-u-ler physics, which is beyond my grasp. We’ve had lots of dry, light snow since November. I had 7 days of skiing in November and December this winter, I had 5 during the previous 3 seasons combined. I have 18 days total skiing to date this winter. I had 24 days total by this time the previous 3 seasons combined. These numbers are microscopic by resident skier standards, but they’re good for me. 🙂 I met someone yesterday who alluded he had over 500 consecutive days of skiing (consecutive days in consecutive seasons, I presume). THAT is a lot of skiing.
Today was just another Grrrrr8 day of skiing at Copper Mountain. Some sunshine, some hazy-cold, flat-light mist from the incoming Arctic cold front, some fast, heavy snowfall adding a fresh inch here and there. Cold, (15F I’d guess) but not so cold you couldn’t stand it. (Check with me on Wednesday, after Tuesday has a daytime high of 0F and overnight low of -21F. THAT will be cold.) Copper Mountain, IMO, deserves the Inter-Galactic Best Groomed Slopes Award. Call me spoiled in my old age, but it sure makes for grrrrrr8 cruising. There is also plenty of steep, deep, and bumpy when you are so inclined.
‘Great’ skiing, dudes.