Tuesday, April 25, 2006

April 25, Still Skiing!?

It's spring. The days are long and the birds are back singing, displaying, and buidling nests. However, winter won't let go.

It's all about physics. Even though there is now more than 16 hours of daylight, we have low solar radiation because the angle of the sun never gets very high here. Right now it's maybe 35-40 degrees at it's daily zenith. So the sun just circles the above the horizon, starting in the northeast and ending in the northwest. Add to that a high albedo (reflectivity) due to snow cover, which never gives the air much of a chance to warm up. Also the snow here is incredibly light and fluffy. We once brought in bucket of snow to make some tea water. That snow took two days to melt at room temperature (60 - 65 F). It was full of air and the 5 gallon bucket only produced a small amount of water. Such snow is insulating and it takes a long time to melt.

So right now, the snow has finally transformed to a slushy-granular texture, and slowly it's melting back. However, in the woods at higher elevations we still have 2 feet in most areas, except south-facing slopes.

Anyway, I skied for 45 minutes today and it was much better than marginal. A little rough in spots, and tricky in others because they've stopped grooming and you'd get a good head of steam, and then sink in six inches, which causes you to lurch forward. This might be the latest in the year that I've cross country skied. Been able to get in 15 or 16 days over the past month, a nice extension to the season, and I could easily go several more days this week, but once more ought to do it. Running season is upon us and most of the other runners are in mid-season shape already.

1 Comments:

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