Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Como in October

Patience is a virtue.

When it was snowing in the morning, I waited. The ground was 60˚. It would be mush. When it was evening, I waited. Still above freezing. In the morning, when it had been in the 20s for eight hours, I went to Como. And it was skiing.

The snow stuck around and froze up well, it was a cross between fast grass and skiing. However, except for the cart paths, coverage was complete, and I was able to ski the full 5k, with some minor variations to avoid pavement, at Como. It was definitely not mid-winter conditions—far from it. However, it was skiing in October, something I've never done before. It leaves May and September as my ski-free months. I may not hit snow for a while, but today was a good taste. And, heck, it was better skiing than the first ski at Como last year, on the 12th. Of November.

No complaints. None at all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Early weather speculation

No, no, it's not ski season yet. Somewhere, maybe. Montana? Norway? Not here. … Yet.

Actually, likely not here for a little while. But it doesn't mean we can't have a bit of weather speculation. First off, the NWS points out that if today's rain storm were hitting a month later
Alas, we just don't have the elevation. (I was at 4300 feet in New England last week and it was snowing lightly.)

Then, well, there's this weekend, when we may see some snow. Probably not enough to accumulate, and since it has yet to drop below freezing the ground will not hold it. But we may see snow, as it will be cold enough that anything that falls will be solid and white. (Not bad, considering our average high is still in the low 60s.) This weekend will be considerably colder; highs may struggle to reach 40 on Saturday or Sunday.

Why do I mention this? Because the last time it was this cold, this early, ABR had good skiing. On October 12, 2006, the high in Minneapolis was 39. In Ironwood it was 30 and they had 18 inches of snow, and ABR groomed. It's not currently forecast to be quite that cold. And lake effect definitely depends on how the winds set up, not just how cold it is (although the westerly winds forecast would be good). In any case, keep your eye on the UP next weekend. I'm not saying it will snow, but I've looked back to 1970 and there are no colder days in the first half of October. If we have a high below 40 and a low in the mid-20s, watch ABR indeed.

In other words, I'll be taking rock skis to the Whistlestop Marathon.