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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Amazing Mountain-Top Inversion and Golf Courses

It is a wonderful time to get up on the Mesa. With a very strong inversion (warmer air over cold) in place over Western Colorado, temperatures on our trails are warmer than the valleys. For example on Monday, high temperatures in Grand Junction/Montrose were 21/28, while on top MesaLakes/TricklePark reached 37/35. And the air is cleaner on the Mesa too, perfect conditions for some nordic aerobic fun. These conditions will likely continue through Wednesday.
The next storm is still forecast to pass on New Year's Day bringing snowfall for Steamboat and Vail. Grand Mesa effects will likely be gusty winds, but little to no snowfall. Temperatures too will fall back to afternoon highs in the 20s with some significant wind chill.
A stronger two-barrel storm will pass this weekend. Gusty winds and significant snowfall (6-12inches?) will occur with an open trough passage Friday Night-Saturday. Snow will continue Sunday-Monday, but with the upper flow switching to SW, Ward Lake trails will be favored for snowfall. Gusty winds will occur across the top and the north-facing slopes down to Powderhorn.
If you are like me, tied to the valley with work or family responsibilities, golf courses are great places to ski right now. In Grand Junction, I have gotten out on the 3 inches of snow on the Lincoln Park golf course. I set classic tracks around the perimeter and have gotten in a few laps before sunset since Christmas. A Rode Super Blue wax is giving me good kick on the snow/grass combo and there are no new scratches in my rock skis. My golfing acquaintances asked that we circumvent the greens so we don't hurt the turf there. 
Happy New Year!

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