As the east coast basks in summer-like temperatures, we are preparing for yet another white Christmas here in the Rocky Mountains. Forecasted highs are in supposed to be in the 20s, and a blanket of white fluffy stuff covers the ground with another 5 or so inches forecast for Christmas eve and Christmas Day. Sitting in our log home with the wood stove going, amidst the frosty temperatures outside feels right, it feels like Christmas.
Since I was a little kid, I would get so excited by snow. Growing up in Missouri, a snow storm was not a regular event, which seemed make it even more special. I could never get enough of snow, mountains, pine trees, which led me to a life in the mountains, first in the Sierra, and later in the Rocky Mountains. Lucky for me, I met a man who shared my enthusiasm for snow, winter and mountains.
When Bryon and I started considering the idea of making a home in the mountains, we started looking at various communities that would afford a mountain lifestyle within commuting distance of likely work places. We looked at various foothill towns along the Front Range — Estes Park, Evergreen, Conifer, and finally Nederland. While it’s true that part of what led us to Nederland was nearby Boulder, another part of what led us to Nederland was its weather.
We actually did a comparison of potential communities, combing the Internet. The main criteria? How much annual snowfall did each community get. Surprisingly, there is quite a bit of variation amongst towns of the same elevation and just twenty to forty miles apart. Estes Park is a favorite for retirees, and no wonder, as they average a mere 34 inches of snow per year. Just 25 miles to our south, we considered the bedroom community of Evergreen, coming in around 84 inches of snow. The winner of the snowfall competition — our hometown of Nederland, averaging around 140 inches of snow per winter.
Bryon records our weather data religiously, and in reality, for around six years now, we are averaging even more than that at 150 inches of snow. How we get that snow each year varies wildly. Some years, it has come over three whopping storms of 2 and 3 feet each. Other years, we’ve receiving numerous storms of 10-12 inches. Sometimes the snow has come early, and the spring has been dry. The last two years, we got some of our biggest snow storms in the month of May.
But in terms of producing that magical white Christmas that I dreamed of as a child, it’s much more of a sure bet now than ever. In fact of our six Christmases, only one wasn’t white — the very first one. Mother Nature has produced for us ever since, and I look forward to yet another frosty, white Colorado Christmas in two days.