We are in for a dry and mild weather pattern for at least the next 10 days. A strong ridge of High pressure along the West Coast has brought an end to the series of winter storms. This West Coast ridge will work over the Great Basin by the weekend with a weak Low pressure system forming to its south. A High over a Low is the definition of a Rex block, a stagnant benign weather pattern that is usually very slow to change. But change it does next week, unfortunately into another blocking pattern called an Omega block (High pressure with Lows to it west and east). The latest models indicate this pattern may break down on the following Friday, 23 January. Yet often the models are too fast in breaking down blocking patterns.
Daytime temperatures on top of the Mesa are already milder than in the valleys, and this will continue through this week and next. By this weekend, GMNC trail temperatures may climb into the upper 30s to lower 40s in the afternoons. The trails' snow is losing its crystalline structure and becoming more rounded. Klister or fishscales will be the classic kick of choice by this weekend. Skate skiing should be marvelous! It is times like this when the tiller on the Lambert Foundation snowcat will be quite useful. The tiller can break up the old crusty snow and produce a new more malleable trail.
The trapped air in the valleys will become progressively more hazy and polluted this week and next. All the more reason to get up and ski! Tshirt skiing in January is a wonderful thing! Just don't forget to protect any exposed skin from the combination of sun and snow with a good sunblock.
Check out the latest conditions here: http://home.mesastate.edu/~jerry/gmnc/weather/weather.htm