The 2017/2018 ski season has begun for some with an early October snowstorm that left approximately a foot of heavy snow bending still-foliated deciduous trees to the ground, and straining many coniferous saplings beyond the point of no return. That snow is a distant memory everywhere except in the Northerly shadows of steep ridges at higher elevations. The above tree-line terrain has remained snow covered on north-facing aspects, but continues to be warmed anywhere that it sees the sun.

 

This leaves a foreboding situation with a snowpack that is lying over warm ground for an extended period,¬†metamorphosing into larger less stable crystals with each passing day and swing of the temperature pendulum. One silver lining is a strip of north facing snow 8-24″ deep that covers the aquaduct North of the old Berthoud pass ski area. It’s only 1K in length, but that’s enough for some early season high altitude on-snow training. There is snow in the forecast, but it will likely be a while before things cool off enough for enduring snow in the valley.