Spring Snow

Last week we finally got a real snow storm here where my wife and I live in Glen Haven, near Estes Park, Colorado.  If you tell most people that you live in Colorado, they imagine waist deep snow from Labor Day until about the 4th of July.  This goes double if you tell them that you live at 7500 feet near Rocky Mountain National Park.  The truth of the matter though is that for most of this winter we only had snow on the ground on the north facing slopes. 

That's why I was so excited last week, when what was predicted to be a minor storm surprised everyone by dropping around 18 inches on us.  In Colorado most of the big snow falls on the "west slope" i.e. the west side of the continental divide.  Storms from the west have to rise up to get over the high mountains, and in doing so they drop most of their moisture on the west slope.  This is both why most people in Colorado live on the "front range", (the string of cities from Fort Collins in the North to Pueblo in the South), and why most Colorado ski areas are on the west side of the mountains. 

In the spring time, Colorado will occasionally have what is known as an "up-slope storm".  This is a storm that comes from the east, against prevailing winds.  With an up-slope storm, the process works in reverse.  As the moisture rises up the east side of the mountains, it fall out as snow.  Once when I lived in Denver it snowed 40 inches in two days in a good late season up-slope storm. 

Anyway, Brooke and I took the opportunity to finally be able to run around in snow shoes and get some wintry shots, since, you know, we live in the Rockies and all.