Cold snap across Southwest Colorado expected to be short-lived

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 5:56 PM
Thanks to a recent cold snap in Southwest Colorado, these mallards find themselves walking atop frozen water Wednesday in the north Animas Valley.

Some winter enthusiasts across Colorado have taken to ski burning to appease Ullr, the Norse god of snow and patron saint of skiers.

The pagan ritual is meant to reverse Southwest Colorado’s snow drought ­– which is expected to continue into next week.

Norv Larson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the recent cold snap came from an Arctic system from the north.

“The air mass has origins in the Arctic, and all it takes is a weather system or undulation to get that cold air moving, and it drifts across the area,” he said.

To the dismay of many skiers, little to no precipitation is expected this week, Larson said.

And while the cold weather feels appropriate for December, temperatures will likely warm up through the weekend and into early next week.

“Temperatures will moderate by Friday to the mid-40s and be in the 50s through the weekend,” Larson said.

Ski resorts are taking advantage of the cold temperatures, which have been favorable for snowmaking efforts.

Purgatory Resort spokeswoman Kim Oyler said crews have been “working around the clock to make more snow.”

“They have been able to make snow since 2 a.m. on Monday,” she said. “We are always doing the snow dance. Our snowmaking crews have done a phenomenal job this year in getting the mountain open early.”

Additional terrain at Purgatory is expected to open Friday, and the resort will start to offer beginner ski lessons.

Above-average temperatures are expected through December and into February, but predicting precipitation this early is a scientific crapshoot.

“There is no strong signal to indicate one way or the other in terms of precipitation,” Larson said.

Sunny skies are expected throughout the week, with temperatures dipping into the teens at night.