Ever heard of Snow Brains? The “Brains” behind the web site are making a bold prediction about tons of snow falling on Colorado over the next couple of weeks. And Colorado is not the only region getting snow.
Snow is falling in so many places and so are temperatures. Brace yourselves for an “arctic outbreak” in many areas.
So what is an “arctic outbreak?” According to The Weather Channel, the reference is to where the air is coming from – in this case, it’s from the Arctic – extremely cold air that moves southward from northern Canada and Alaska.
This arctic outbreak resulted from a late December through early January sudden stratospheric warming event, which occurs when temperatures in the polar region’s stratosphere rise dramatically.
The sudden stratospheric warming caused the polar vortex to weaken, which then affected the jet stream pattern. There can be a lag of several weeks between when the polar vortex gets disrupted to when it affects the jet stream and then brings colder weather.
Fresh snow has a tendency to bring out the crowds and with the COVID safety restrictions, this has resulted in long lift lines at many resorts. That means more time standing still while standing in line.
Seasoned skiers know how to dress for very cold temperatures but not everyone is a seasoned skier or snowboarder. Two options for simple tutorials are New to Ski and one listed on the National Ski Patrol web site. The 2/12-14 weekend forecasts are indicating temperatures in some places (especially the Midwest) to be 20 – 50 degrees colder than normal.
One alternative when temperatures are frigid is to consider cross county skiing. All body parts are regularly moving. There is no sitting on a chairlift that is suspended in air. Many cross country trails are in wooded areas that tend to be a little warmer than a wide open space.
Cross country skiing is having one of its best years ever. A recent study conducted by the Cross Country Ski Areas Association found that during the second week in January among U.S. and Canadian cross country areas found that more than half of the areas reporting said revenues are higher than had been projected through January 15. Additionally, season pass sales are very healthy, with nearly half of ski areas reporting 20% or greater growth in season pass sales. Day pass sales have increased at 60% of ski areas.
Cross country skiing appears to be an alternative for many who want to get outdoors even when the temps low. “With appropriately weighted clothing layers and full body movement, cross country skiing in the coldest temperatures is not a problem,” said Roger Lohr, creator of xcskiresorts.com. “For example, this means wearing mittens and a heavier insulation shirt layer when it is really cold”. Lohr is pictured here in the blue jacket and was skiing near Mt Washington, in NH.
Cross country is booming