San Juan Mountains

August 24, 2014--Dust from the drought-hit Southwest ups avalanche danger in the Rockies (Beacon)

We all know what a blanket of fresh snow is supposed to look like — it’s the stuff of poetry. And for skiers and snowboarders, it’s the magic carpet that carries us beyond the edge of gravity, free-falling down mountainsides immersed in a spray of frozen crystals. But for the last 10 years, the snows falling in parts of the Colorado Rockies have been far from virgin white.

May 12, 2014--The dusting of snow (Durango Herald)

The term “white as snow” is a little misleading in the San Juan Mountains these days. The snowpack here at 11,060 feet is covered by layers of dust deposited in the last several weeks. These layers have serious ramifications not only for this spring and summer, but also for the future.

April 17, 2014--Winds paint dusty picture for Colorado snowpack (Boulder Weekly)

The San Juan Mountains often feel the brunt of the dust events, but a recent surge of desert air brought a thick layer as far north as Summit County at the end of March. If you’ve been skiing in the high country lately and noticed the pinkish snow, no need to check your goggles.

February 2, 2014--Where are you, winter? (Durango Herald)

The wind-driven rain and snow that pushed into the San Juan Mountains late Thursday to bring welcome relief to a January that ranks as one of the driest doesn’t alter the long-term outlook for Southwest Colorado, experts say. January in Durango also was warmer than the historical average.

January 25, 2014--Group threatens to sue Colorado over river flows (Associated Press)

A Western environmental group is threatening to sue Colorado, saying its management and allocation of water in the San Luis Valley is putting New Mexico's stretch of the Rio Grande at risk. WildEarth Guardians delivered its notice of intent to sue this week.

June 7, 2013--No snow, weak flow lowers hope (Durango Herald)

An anemic snowpack in the southern San Juan Mountains this past winter is going to leave Southwest Colorado and the Upper Rio Grande basin to the east with stream flows well below average, the Natural Resources Conservation Service reports. The outlook contrasts markedly with what the northern tier of the state can expect, the agency said in its June report.

March 20, 2013--Year’s snowpack looking weak (Durango Herald)

If storms don’t add to the current snowpack at Purgatory soon, winter 2012-13 could mark the fifth consecutive decline in total seasonal snowfall since 2007-08 when 290 inches fell. In the preceding four years, Purgatory received respectively, 265, 233, 218 and 204 inches. So far this year, 186 inches have been recorded, 18 inches shy of the 2011-12 mark.

March 19, 2013--Water levels remain low (Cortez Journal)

When a wildfire suddenly broke out last Friday in Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Coloradans breathed an anxious, collective sigh: not again. The early season blaze stirred unpleasant memories of last year's trying fire season, which scorched about 385,000 acres in the state, according to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

March 10, 2013--Climate change and the local snowpack (Telluride Daily Planet)

The complexities of climate change and its effects on the San Juan Mountains are not well known, but research is being done to dig up some answers.

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