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Old 07-29-2010, 09:44 PM
 
201 posts, read 382,992 times
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Default How much snow/bad weather in eagle/vail valley?

Ok I realize I've been asking a lot of dumb questions since deciding to move to this area, but I have spent the last 30 minutes trying to research this and can't find a straight answer. The way people talk it just seems like there are several feet of snow all the time, starting in Sep. (or even late August?!) and ending in May, yet the averages I've found listed in online climate reports seem way too low to be true. A lot were only around 18-30 inches per month, which I just can't possibly see being true as we got a lot more than that in Ohio last winter! I'm worried about getting flights home for holidays, especially since the nearest large airport involves a 2 hour drive to get there. I'm a teacher, and although depending on the winter we can get a ton of snow in Ohio, school is closed when it gets icy or snows a ton, so I have almost no practice driving in it. The roads are also really well taken care of here, even if it snows a few feet they will usually have them completely clear in a matter of hours. But since it presumably snows "all the time" in CO I assume this wouldn't even be feasible? How well do they try to clear the roads? Also, how cold does it get? I've seen things saying the temperatures are sometimes below -30 degrees, but have also heard other people say that it's a "dry cold" and doesn't really feel as bad as it does in other places even though the temperature may be lower. A family friend said she could often wear only a light jacket in the winter when visiting her son?? (I just can't imagine that would be true!)
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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I can't help you out too much as I live near Denver but some things I can tell you:
  1. you will be living in the mountains, the weather will be crazy.
  2. It is a dry cold and the same temperature will feel warmer but once again you will be in the mountains, it will be cold.
  3. you will not see as much precipitation as you are used to in Ohio. It will be sunnier but when it does you are likely to see the 18-30 inches in the same day.
  4. It will not be icy like you're used to in OH
  5. they don't salt the roads they use sand (mixture?).
  6. your family friend probably was in Denver I'm guessing not Vail
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrison21 View Post

1. The way people talk it just seems like there are several feet of snow all the time, starting in Sep. (or even late August?!) and ending in May, yet the averages I've found listed in online climate reports seem way too low to be true. A lot were only around 18-30 inches per month, which I just can't possibly see being true as we got a lot more than that in Ohio last winter!

2. I'm worried about getting flights home for holidays, especially since the nearest large airport involves a 2 hour drive to get there. I'm a teacher, and although depending on the winter we can get a ton of snow in Ohio, school is closed when it gets icy or snows a ton, so I have almost no practice driving in it. The roads are also really well taken care of here, even if it snows a few feet they will usually have them completely clear in a matter of hours. But since it presumably snows "all the time" in CO I assume this wouldn't even be feasible?

3. How well do they try to clear the roads? Also, how cold does it get? I've seen things saying the temperatures are sometimes below -30 degrees, but have also heard other people say that it's a "dry cold" and doesn't really feel as bad as it does in other places even though the temperature may be lower. A family friend said she could often wear only a light jacket in the winter when visiting her son?? (I just can't imagine that would be true!)
1. The Vail Valley and all it includes is a SKI resort/town. Snow is the lifeblood of the valley. The top of vail mountain can get around 400 inches a year, the valley basin 200-300 a year, a little less down in Edwards and Avon. The snowfall varies, you can have dry months with few storms and sunshine or heavy snowfall months with snow day after day. There is no way to predict other than to say December January snow tends to be drier and the weather colder, october november february march april snow tends to be wetter and the temperatures warmer.

The first snowfall that stuck that I ever experienced was around Sept 6. Usually snow will fall sometime in Sept and by October the weather is rapidly changing into winter. In March you'll get some warm days and in April at the lower levels of the valley snow on the ground will start to melt. Snow can continue into early June. May is mud season as everything is melting and the rivers are raging.

2. Streets due to the snowfall can be icy and snowpacked at any time during winter. Side streets can be worse, especially in the town of Vail. Sun and clearing of roads will keep the main roads dry like I-70 and frontage roads. You need to be prepared with good snow tires and a decent car. Also the bus system in the valley is great so you can also take that. And LEARN THE RULES of the roundabouts in the valleys(yield to whoever is in the traffic circle). There are few traffic lights in the valley.

Flights are not a problem. Again this is a ski resort with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Eagle Airport 30 minutes away. From December to early April there are 757's coming in all day and night long so it's easy to take one of those flights to many major hubs in the country. Or if you want to fly out of Denver take Colorado Mountain Express. They have shuttles to DIA every hour in winter both ways, door to door service.

3. Clearing the roads is something highly variable. Again you have to be prepared with the right tires and equipment. Mostly if you are working 9 to 5, you'll have less to worry about. Me, I was up at 4 AM or out at 2 AM coming and going from work, so was always out in the worst. But if you are working in the valley and living in the valley, the commute is not long. It's just not that big of a place.

How cold does it get? Well one nice thing with Vail is that the valley opens to lower elevation to the west and that seems to moderate the temps. For a ski town, I'd say it's a lot more temperate than places like Breck or Steamboat, no question and I know that because I would often travel to both and the temps often would be 20 degrees lower there than Vail.

In the depths of winter I'd say the average daily high would be 15-30 degrees and at night 0-20 degrees. I never remembered a -30 temp. I do remember some -15 to -20 nights. The worst nights are after a few long days of snow and the clear skies move in at night. With no insulating clouds, all the snow covered everywhere acts like a freezer and it can be bone chilling.

When the sun is out, due to the elevation, it has quite a warming effect. I could wear t shirts in 35 degree sunny weather. But at night with no sun, yep it's cold.

Most days in the winter, being in and out, I could make due with a fleece and or a light jacket. Gloves and a hat are a necessity.

You'll find the weather has a different "feel" to it compared to back east, due to elevation(closer to the sun), thin dry air and the variables caused by the mountains.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrison21 View Post
A lot were only around 18-30 inches per month, which I just can't possibly see being true as we got a lot more than that in Ohio last winter!
18 inches per month from November through April adds up to 100 inches per year. 30 inches per month from November through April adds up to 180 inches per year.

According to the National Weather Service, Cleveland got 60 inches of snow total last year. Youngstown got 76 inches. Toledo got 39. Cincinnati got 38. Columbus got 51.

It is impossible that anywhere in Ohio got "a lot more" than 18-30 inches per month last winter. In fact, all of Ohio got significantly less than even 18 inches per month. Imagine your worst month last year happening a lot more often than once every 5-10 years. More like several months per year. That's what moving to Vail will be like. Not trying to scare you, just trying to give you a straight answer.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:57 AM
 
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There's a huge difference in the type of snowfall that typically falls at the Vail elevation compared to Ohio snowfall ....

There's much less moisture content in the high altitude snowfall.

With the sunshine and very low humidity, snow will sublimate off a lot of surfaces, even on cold temperature days in Vail. It takes a lot more snowfall in the mountains to build total depth on the slopes than it does for the high moisture content snow in Ohio. So you can't make direct comparisons of total inches vs total inches of snowfall to achieve the same types of driving conditions, etc.

I'd be a lot more concerned about the black ice driving conditions than driving in deep snow in the Vail/Valley area. You can encounter this anytime during the day or night ... it's extremely slick when it forms and polishes to a even slicker surface as cars drive over it. Deep snow driving conditions are rarely found in the Valley on main roads in comparison to the frequency of black ice conditions.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davros View Post
18 inches per month from November through April adds up to 100 inches per year. 30 inches per month from November through April adds up to 180 inches per year.

According to the National Weather Service, Cleveland got 60 inches of snow total last year. Youngstown got 76 inches. Toledo got 39. Cincinnati got 38. Columbus got 51.

It is impossible that anywhere in Ohio got "a lot more" than 18-30 inches per month last winter. In fact, all of Ohio got significantly less than even 18 inches per month. Imagine your worst month last year happening a lot more often than once every 5-10 years. More like several months per year. That's what moving to Vail will be like. Not trying to scare you, just trying to give you a straight answer.
Well the one thing that will be different is that typically the snow is much drier and filled with air, so it has a lot of volume when it comes down, but typically packs down quickly over time, leaving the moisture behind. The other nice thing is that when it comes down, because it is dry, it tends to evaporate off of you, unlike a lake effect snowfall that leaves you soaking wet.

I'd say having moved back to PA, often times I would rather prefer the weather back in Vail. Mostly because the sun would come out a lot more, where back here overcast weather just settles in for days and days.

But the saying is you stay for the summer and the summer there in Vail is about the best of anyplace you could be.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:16 PM
 
201 posts, read 382,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davros View Post
18 inches per month from November through April adds up to 100 inches per year. 30 inches per month from November through April adds up to 180 inches per year.

According to the National Weather Service, Cleveland got 60 inches of snow total last year. Youngstown got 76 inches. Toledo got 39. Cincinnati got 38. Columbus got 51.

It is impossible that anywhere in Ohio got "a lot more" than 18-30 inches per month last winter. In fact, all of Ohio got significantly less than even 18 inches per month. Imagine your worst month last year happening a lot more often than once every 5-10 years. More like several months per year. That's what moving to Vail will be like. Not trying to scare you, just trying to give you a straight answer.
I didn't mean ohio got more snow per year, because obviously it snows a lot more months in co than in oh. I meant that when it did snow, we got a lot more than 18-30 inches per month. Most of those are cities in the south, whereas I live in nothern ohio. Depending on the winter, we sometimes get no snow at all other than a few flurries until January. Most of our snow is contained within Jan-Feb. so of course the yearly averages are not the same. But last year in Jan-Feb. we were getting several feet of snow every week or so, the most we've gotten around here in a long time! I got six snow days off from school which is unheard of!

Anyway thank you all for the responses, that makes me feel a lot better. Most people I run into that have been/lived in the area tell me that its actually a bit warmer than around here. It seems that winter will be a lot longer but not as bad as I was imagining. I will also definitely have to look into that shuttle service, because more than anything driving two hours down a mountain to the airport in snow really scares me. I'd be willing to pay (within reason) for the peace of mind there.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
3,767 posts, read 4,943,518 times
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The amount of snowfall in Eagle/Vail varies a lot from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Really, it does! Basically you can expect snow to start falling in October. You'll see a lot of light flurries, occasionally a heavier snowfall. By January, you can expect permanent snow on the ground, in different quantities, unless there have been a series of warm days that melted it off. From January through April, more of the same, but you can expect more blizzards and heavier snows during this period. This results in more accumulation and if temperatures stay low then it'll stay on the streets as well.
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:35 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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I wanted to mention that you can also fly out of Grand Junction. However, the CME shuttle to Denver is very reliable and not too pricey especially if you factor in what you have to pay for parking at DIA.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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Thank you so much for the information about the CME. I'd have to say after driving back and forth to the dia several times the drive makes me a little nervous even when the roads are dry! Where I live the highways are flat and straight, the entire way haha. It was really hard for me to try to go so fast while barrelling down a steep curvy hill for 2 hours, I can't imagine doing it in snow. Anyway, I already bought my plane tickets for thanksgiving and also booked the cme, like someone mentioned I think it actually saved me money to since now I wont' have to pay to park at the airport for several days.

I have a really dumb question though...it says the pickup location is the vail-trans center-ptp. Where exactly is that? And can I take the bus there (so I don't have to worry about what to do with my car while I'm gone, the bus system runs right by my apartment). Thanks so much!
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