Spring snow storms are a wonder!
The recent weather in Colorado has been anything but boring! One moment in t-shirts and jeans, followed by rain coats. Suddenly everything is covered in a blanket of fresh snow. What a wonderful sampling of every facet of spring! Adventures are more spur of the moment, based on what Mother Nature decides, but tomorrow may be a completely different story!
Effects of Spring Snow
As the snowpack continuously melts, then freezes, a heavy wet spring snow can definitely create some adverse conditions in the back country. I’m sure you have all watched the news, youtube, or social media. Transfixed by videos of a wall of snow plummeting toward the unfortunate photographer, I know I’ve seen a few. I’m also sure you have seen the news that Red Mountain Pass is closed indefinitely as CDOT works to make it safe.
This is not Unusual
Despite the dark and dismal coverage of the spring storms and avalanche danger, this weather is not unusual in Southwest Colorado. According to the old-timers around here, heavy snow years are pretty cyclical. Usually they occur every 3 to 7 years. Looking back at my Facebook memories, 2011 and 2013 were epic snowfall years. Consequently, we are pretty much on schedule. Every year around this time, according to Facebook (and we all know if it’s on FB, it is completely true!) there is at least one complaint about winter not being over yet. It is easy to forget that Ouray has been known to experience the last storm of the year in June. Once, several years ago, it actually snowed on the Fourth of July! Can you imagine how fun that water fight must have been?
CDOT Saves the Day Again!
One thing we in Colorado are extremely fortunate in is our department of transportation. The people who maintain our roads and highways are some of the best in the country. They work tirelessly to ensure our safety. Here at the hotel, in addition to word of mouth reports from guests and locals alike, we take advantage of cotrip.org, which is a very user friendly website designed by CDOT. This tool provides the best and safest route information to our guests whatever the season.
Ouray is Bursting with Great Adventues!
So, with adverse conditions in the high country and on Red Mountain Pass, is Ouray the place to visit right now? The answer of course, is YES! There is so much more to this area than one or two options. From sledding to ice skating, to ice climbing (yes, the park is still open!). Additionally, a number of trails are accessible for snow shoeing and cross country skiing. Ouray is an absolute winter wonderland after a spring snow storm!
Local guide companies work tirelessly to make sure any adventurer will have the best and safest experience. Whether high adrenaline, or family oriented, regardless of the season. These individuals, whether or not you choose to enjoy one of their courses, are always ready with answers to any questions. They genuinely want everyone to have a positive appreciation of this place they choose to call home. In fact, most locals are eager to help you to enjoy your time here.
Relax After Winter Fun
After sampling the plethora of activities in the area, nothing quite compares to soaking in the hot springs. Muscles relax, and any residual cold evaporates, as the occassional deer casually grazes nearby. The quiet is serene and time almost seems to stand still.
Getting to Ouray
Regardless of the weather, or status of Red Mountain Pass, Ouray is almost always accessible from the North. Alternate routes from the South may be farther in miles, but these highways are not as curvy as 55o. Therefore it doesn’t really take much longer. In conclusion, every route to Ouray provides spectacular scenery and is well worth the trip!