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Independence Day funnel clouds in Steamboat Springs

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fireworks in Steamboat Springs started ahead of schedule on late Friday afternoon as funnel clouds appeared over the the south part of town around 5:30 pm MDT. These photos were taken on Village Dr, first near Meadow Lane and then about 1/4 mile north near Walton Creek Rd. As the radar loop from Grand Junction in the lower right shows, the storm rapidly gained strength soon after 5:09 pm MDT and was quite strong between 5:28 and 5:48. During this time, rotation was evident in several areas of the cloud base, and it appeared that 2 or 3 shallow funnels briefly formed around this time. Along with favorable wind shear that helped cause the rotation, atmospheric instability was enhanced as the storm formed along a dry-line that was present at the boundary of the moist monsoonal air to our south and some drier air to our north and west that appeared in the afternoon.

Storm base at 5:24pm
Storm base at 5:28pm
Storm base at 5:31pm
Grand Junction radar loop at 5:09pm, 5:28pm, 5:48pm and 6:13pm

Chance of showers highest for July 4th holiday

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Moisture drawn from our south is currently increasing over our area, leading to a small chance of showers this afternoon. The best chance, however, will occur during the July 4th holiday as the areal extent and chance for wetting rains will be the highest, especially in the afternoon and evening.

Dry air will interrupt this very brief monsoonal surge of moisture for the rest of the holiday weekend, though remnant moisture trapped under the dry air may lead to a very slight chance of storms for Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Warm and dry days should follow the weekend until midweek or soon after when another slug of monsoonal moisture is forecast to make a brief appearance over our area, increasing the chance of wetting rains. A shortwave moving well north of us will then suppress the ridge to our south and return dry weather to our area for at least part of the following weekend. However, the southwest ridge builds behind this shortwave late in the weekend or early the following week leading to a more sustained monsoonal surge and increased chances of precipitation for our area.

Uphill access restored to Zig Zag between Thunderhead and Creekside

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Steamboat ski area recently completed the lower section of the mountain biking downhill trail Tenderfoot, and as promised 2 long years ago, restored uphill access on the old Zig Zag trail between the base of the Thunderhead lift and the top of Creekside. This is great news for uphill riders like myself as we will no longer be subjected to the mind-numbingly boring ride up Why Not road to gain access to the excellent Creekside singletrack.

Personally, this has restored my standard lunchtime ride which I call the Creekside-8, which traces out a figure eight by following Zig Zag from the gondola to the top of Creekside, then down Creekside and back up Burgess Creek Road to Lower Valley View and finally the top of Christy Peak, then down Lower Rustler’s Ridge to the base of the gondola. It’s about 1800 vertical feet with two excellent descents separated by a 15 or 20 minute climb up Lower Valley View.

The trails are riding great after the rain we received last Friday, and the trail crews are keeping the singletrack and widetrack in excellent condition.

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