I work in a restaurant, so I have to schedule my days off one week in advance. Last winter I kept guessing wrong and missed all the powder. Where do I get a reliable weather forecast for the San Juans?
—Frustrated and Bitter
Before I address your question, let me share a favorite quote from an old miner named “Whispering” Jim Dalpez who lived and worked in the Telluride area for many decades. In his golden years, Whispering Jim spent most of his time on a bench in front of the Floradora where he would exchange pleasantries with friends as they passed. Because of his longevity in the region, people would often ask him to forecast the weather. “Only fools and newcomers predict the weather,” was his booming response. “And I ain’t neither!” Whispering Jim passed away some years back, so your best bet for a weather forecast now resides somewhere in cyberspace. An obvious site to consult is www.weather.com, which is the online version of the Weather Channel. Another standby is the National Weather Service’s website at www.forecast.weather.gov. An excellent third option is www. weather.unisys.com. Of the three listed, Unisys provides the most technical maps of scientific-based information, so if you want the data to make your own decisions, start there. However, if you are trying to predict snowfall in the San Juan Mountains, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at www.avalanche.state.co.us always seems to be accurate. Don’t forget to send them a donation to help fund their important mission of keeping Colorado’s backcountry skiers abreast of current avalanche conditions. A final snippet of weather advice passed on to me by my dear departed grandfather: “We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.”