They say we average 300 days of sunshine here in Colorado. Sometimes in the middle of winter, when we are having an epic snowstorm and the snow is piling up outside our windows, it doesn’t feel like it. But for the last several weeks, I have no trouble believing that statistic.
Day after day, it’s nothing but blue skies and lots of sunshine, as well as record high temperatures. Nary a cloud graces the sky. In Boulder, runners and bikers abound along the open space trails. In Denver, a week ago, it the thermometer topped out at a roasty 80 degrees, more than 30 degrees above normal.
From mid-November to mid-January, we had it good. Snowstorms were coming in rapid fire through the open “storm door”, building up snow along the mountain crests, ski slopes and outside our house. For a solid two months, we’ve had snow covering the ground, something my friend in Virginia lamented, but not me.
Instead of skiing weather, it feels more like golfing weather.
While many of my friends back east would embrace this run of dry, sunny weather, I can’t help but feel uneasy inside.
Uneasy over the snow that is rapidly melting off the ski slopes where I work as a ski instructor. Most days, the snow resembles more of a slush akin to the consistency of a snow cone, rather than the famous Coloraado “pow” that brings tourists from far and wide. Patches of dirt and nubbins of trees are starting to poke through the ribbons of white.
But mostly uneasy over what this means three months or even two months from now. After suffering through a devastating wildfire last summer in our neighborhood, the threat of fire is never far from my mind, even in the middle of winter. It’s hard not to project or get anxious about the lack of snow.
I can’t help reflect on 2012, one of the worst wildfire seasons in Colorado’s history. That was the year that it stopped snowing by the end of February. By March, thing were already drying out and a wildfire in Conifer claimed three people’s lives. By the end of June, it felt like the entire state was engulfed in wildfires, with each concurrent one surpassing the previous in terms of property destruction.
Still, our snowiest months are usually March and April, so there is still time to rebuild that snowpack, saturate those soils, and ward off the threat of wildfire.
May the weather Gods hear my snow dances and prayers, and reward us with cold and snowy weather in the weeks ahead.