They’re back…the snow and the cold |

They’re back…the snow and the cold

Veronica Whitney

“It has been so mild. This has been the mildest winter in the 16 years I’ve lived here,” said Janelle, 35, a professional cyclist who rides in any weather condition and logs about 10,000 miles a year.

In the days prior to Sunday’s storm, temperatures in the valley reached and passed 50 degrees – it was almost 60 degrees at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain on Saturday afternoon. Snow turned April-style slushy on the slopes, skiers left jackets at home and some ice rinks, like the ones in Eagle and Gypsum, closed because nighttime temperatures weren’t low enough to prepare the ice.

“It has been extremely warm in January and almost record breaking in the past days,” said Norvan Larson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “It’s been the third warmest January in grand Junction since we started keeping records in the late 19th century.”

This warm weather pattern changed Sunday when a North West Pacific storm dipping into Colorado brought snow and colder temperatures.

“The warm weather was an advance of the current conditions,” said Becky Klenk, a hydrometeorolgical technician with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “The cold front pushes the warm weather. It has stayed warm so long because of the southerly winds we’ve had, which have helped keep the warmer conditions.”

On Sunday, Norvan Larson said to expect five to 10 inches of snow overnight. The forecast for today and the rest of the week is mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers – low accumulations; highs in the 20’s and lows in the single digits. No warm patterns are expected for the next weeks, Larson said.

“This is a strong Pacific storm system, because it’s Pacific based it has a lot of moisture and the system also has a well defined cold front,” Klenk said.

With the passage of the cold front, Klenk said to expect the winds to switch around bringing even colder temperatures.

In Avon, Sunday afternoon the snow slowly started covering the mud and grass that had emerged in the past week.

Tina Mikcaeo, 26, of Avon, said she wasn’t too happy with the return of the snow and cold.

“I like when it’s more than 40 degrees and the snow is slushy,” she said.

In spite of the warm spell, Beaver Creek Mountain has been skiing really well, Emily Jacobs, Beaver Creek spokeswoman said on Sunday.

“We have been making a lot of snow this winter, but we really need natural snow,” Jacobs said. “We need more snow than we can probably get this winter in terms of the drought.”

From inside Starbucks in Avon, Douglas Jimenez, 25, of Edwards, said Sunday he was happy with the snow.

“It was really like spring skiing, and it was nice, but I prefer the cold,” Jimenez said. “Winter is for cold weather.”

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at

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