Today was a taste of just how Nederland can feel and look during winter. We received around 8 inches of snow overnight, and then those famous Nederland winds kicked up and blew all that snow around to whip up drifts well over a foot. Winter in the Rocky Mountains and here in Nederland is all about the upslope and downslope. Words I never even knew anything about prior to moving here, and prior to marrying a meteorologist.
As the winter storms bear down on us from the west, they gather up a lot velocity as they make their way over the Continental Divide, the higher up the mountain, the stronger the winds. As they zoom over the 13,000 foot peaks directly west of us, they come flying down the other side, or downslope with all the fury of an abominable snowman, sometimes gusting to over 80 miles per hour. For all you east coasters out there, that’s strong enough to be rated a hurricane.
What this means for all us residents of the foothills on the east side of the divide is an awful lot of wind, and blustery weather. And when there is snow on the ground, it whips it sideways and into enormous drifts. When I used to work at the local ski area, Eldora Mountain Resort, the access road ran alongside a reservoir they used for snowmaking. During these epic wind events, the road would get drifted with up to 3 foot drifts. One day, a line of employees became completely blocked by the drifts, unable to blast through because of how dense and big they were. The ski resort had to send a big plow down to clear the road, just so we could get to work!
If it were up to me, during nights like tonight, I’d just hunker down in our log cabin and not leave until the winds settle down. Of course, our two dogs need to go heed the call of nature, so I bundled up to take them out tonight. The wind was pummeling my face, snow was blowing in my eyes, and even our dogs didn’t seem too interested in spending much time with furious winter weather, quickly heading for the door. All those people who come during the summer and marvel what a lovely place it is to live, would rethink that idea during nights like tonight. It takes a bit of thicker blood and hearty soul to withstand the winter winds of Nederland.