Bad news: Bears | AspenTimes.com

Bad news: Bears

Steve Benson

I’m sitting at work late Friday night – yes I work on Friday and Saturday nights, isn’t that neat? – when a call comes in over the police scanner that was pretty unusual for this time of year. My ears got so used to these calls last summer that they didn’t even react when the word “bear” was uttered over the airwaves. I just kept typing away like the robot I am when the night editor – he works Friday and Saturday nights, too, which is also really neat – turned to me and asked, “did they just say ‘bear?'” Yes they did, although according to Aspen Police the hungry fur ball was never found. So what does this have to do with skiing? Well assuming you’re all devout readers of this column (in reality it’s just my mom and dad – thanks guys) you would know that for awhile now I’ve been bitching about this warm, dry weather and a possible repeat of last March. Remember, this is supposed to be our snowiest month. Our early riser knows that, too, which is why he thinks it’s April. The good thing about the bear’s premature awakening is that he’ll get a good jump-start on the competition – he must be thinking he’s died and gone to garbage heaven with all the unlocked Dumpsters around town. Last week, the Aspen Skiing Co. was reporting that base depths at Snowmass were 35 percent above average. That has surely dropped in the past seven days. And as Norv Larson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said about our so-called snowiest month, “it doesn’t look good.” At least for the immediate future. There might be a few flakes swirling around out there today, but nothing to write home about. Aside from another tiny shot of snow on Tuesday, it looks like sun and warm temps will rule the week. But is there hope for the second half of March? “Right now, the storms are splitting,” Larson said. “Perhaps later in the month we’ll see this pattern change.” If you trust long-term models, that just may happen. The current outlook is calling for above-normal temperatures, but also above-normal precipitation for March.


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