Powder day predictions can be precarious
Last ski season, the powder was deep enough to satisfy even those cranky, longtime “locals” who revel in traumatizing us newer residents with tales of winters in the “70s and “80s when it snowed 8 acres a day, every day, all day, from Thanksgiving until the Ides of March.The 2003-2004 ski season hasn’t opened with last November’s record snows, unprecendented crowds or the Back Bowls, so skiers and snowboarders this week were wondering just how generous Old Man Winter will be over the next several months.”I think we’re due for a big season – it’s going to come in buckets,” said Charles Meyers, a skier from Highlands Ranch, near Denver. Meyers said it’s not clairvoyance or a degree in meteorology that gives him a sense of big snows this season.”We’re just feeling it,” said Meyers, who had his 5-year-old daughter, Peyton, with him at Beaver Creek Tuesday morning. “We’re going to be up here a lot and we’re giving good vibes – we’re not just feeling them, we’re giving them.”It started snowing about three hours after he was interviewed and Wednesday morning was grudgingly certified, by the Commission of Cranky Longtime Locals, a “powder day.”Locals at the Beav’ Tuesday morning were basing their predictions more on optimism than science.”I think it’s going to be a good season. It can’t be much worse than 2000,” said Esther Ditter.But can it out-dump last year?”It’s probably going to be the same, maybe a little worse,” Ditter said.”I hope it’s going to be great,” said Ditter’s friend, Monica Haden of Edwards, “but I have no clue.”Others would not make any forecasts, lest they tempt fate or irritate the ski gods, or offend those cranky longtime locals who are still mourning the demise last season of the annual mountain mayhem of BB&B.”I’m making no predictions,” said Brian Weiss of Edwards. “Everybody knows what everybody wants and to try and predict is just asking for trouble.”Weiss said he is not a big fan of the Weather Channel or weather forecasts in general, including those appearing in this very publication.”Sometimes they’re right,” Weiss said. “But Saturday, they said it was going to snow 12 inches and it was only about two. It looks like it could snow right now, but maybe it will blow over.”The Weather Channel just gets everyone’s hopes up,” he added.The clouds stirring up overhead as he was interviewed Tuesday morning did not blow over, and, as we said before, it started snowing steadily a few hours later. And a forecast in the Vail Daily predicted more snow over the weekend.Other skiers and snowboarders, like Denver’s Jason Martin, were willing to make powder prophecies.”I personally will get in 15 powder days – beyond that, I couldn’t say,” said Martin, whose prediction for the season wavered in his brief interview from even-keeled to hopeful to euphoric.”You pray for the best and expect the worst,” he said. “I’m optimistic. I’m feeling it could be an epic season.”Josh Ostby, a skier from Wisconsin, went even farther out on the cornice in his prediction for powder days.”Twenty powder days,” he said. “But that’s just off the top of my head. There’s no science involved. I’m just a good guesser – it’s going to dump all season.”Not surprisingly, even those ubiquitous Texans offered a forecast.”I’m going to say it’s going to be more on the wet side,” said Justin Osborn of Rockwall, Texas, who lived in southwestern Colorado for a year. “And I’ll say Durango is not going to get as much snow as you are.”But then, the prediction comes from a Texan who isn’t even betting on the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl!”I wouldn’t put my money on them winning,” Osborn said. “I’ll say Carolina.”The Dallas Cowboys beat the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.Claudia Hansen, a skier from Germany, didn’t exactly make a prediction, but – international foreign policy disputes, aside – said Europeans are envious of Rocky Mountain snow. Hansen Tuesday was skiing for the first time in the U.S. and she was willing to forecast more powder for the Rockies than for the “Continent.””We’re always hearing in Germany that you have a lot of snow and quite famous powder,” Hansen said. “We don’t have powder in Europe.”Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at email@example.com.