La nina likely puts snow on hold until Christmas
The lack of precipitation in Glenwood Springs and warmer temperatures might seem strange to locals or visitors given the time of year. The culprit is la nina — a scientific term that describes the changed direction of weather systems. Tom Renwick from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction said an el nino, the opposite of a la nina, is typically better for Glenwood Springs snow-wise.
“The la nina tends to for Colorado … get more systems coming in from the north and northwest. When that occurs that favors the northern mountains, northern valleys, and a little bit of the central valley,” Renwick said.
Renwick also said it’s important to pay attention to weather conditions when traveling.
“For people that are traveling…if you are going somewhere where there’s a possibility to have snow or ice on the roads just be prepared. Even though it doesn’t look so bad now there’s always that chance,” Renwick said.
Glenwood Springs hasn’t seen snow on the ground as of late, but Troy Hawks, the Sunlight Mountain Marketing and Sales Director, wrote in an email that there has been about two feet of snow up there since Nov. 1, but due to the warm temperatures most of it melted.
“…We do have natural snow on the mountain with more inches on the north facing terrain and glades,” Hawks wrote.
Currently, Sunlight plans to open at 9 a.m. on Dec. 11. Until then, the crew members will continue making snow so skiers and boarders will have more options when they come to visit.
“We had a nice stretch of snowmaking weather this past week that will help us get terrain from Tercero, our lower lift, down open by next Friday. We will need a few good snow storms to get more terrain open,” Hawks wrote.
The resort will be requiring visitors to wear masks on the chairlift and in the lodge where there will be a limited capacity. Hawks wrote that they plan to ask people to physically distance from each other and stay home if they’re feeling sick or have been exposed to COVID-19.
About two weeks after the mountain opens Glenwood Springs residents can look forward to celebrating what is likely to be a “White Christmas,” Renwick said.
“It’s looking like the historical probability…(is a) 50-75% chance (of a White Christmas).”
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