What is 'snow pack' and what does it mean to Ouray and the San Juan Mountains?
Snow Pack refers to the accumulation of snow and ice on the ground in the high mountains. Mainly occuring during the winter months, the amount of snow in the high country directly affects not only our little valley, but many surrounding areas as well. By January, 2016, the San Juan Mountains were at 118%, a significant amount above last years average.
The warm, dry weather we experienced in most of Colorado in February and March was beginning to become a source of concern for those watching the snow pack, but yet again, Mother Nature played her hand, sending storms accross the state, and bringing us back up to an above average year so far.
A normal winter in Ouray and the surrounding area is not technically over until April or May, with winter storms blanketing the mountain paeks at least a few more times before the high country is safely accessible to summer adventurers. As the weather warms up, the snow pack will begin to melt, filling our rivers and streams as they transport much needed water to other parts of the state. Not only is this water used for everything from hydro electricity to drinking water, along the way it nourishes the land for us all to enjoy.
From winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, to spring and summer activities like fishing and rafting, the rivers in Colorado are a vital resource to everyone who lives and visits this beautiful state.
Although we have yet to see the final numbers for 2016, weather tracking sources seem confident that this year will see us entering summer above the average 108% snowpack accumulation. This is indeed good news, and promises an amazing spring and summer filled with rainbows of flowers and activities!
Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you plan your next escape to the San Juans! With up to date information on weather and road conditions, we are here to take the work out of planning!