Thursday, January 1, 2009

Almost Like Stock Show Weather...

t Like Stock Show Weather...

Tonight is our first sub-zero night this winter here in Tahoe. It is 4 below outside and 60 inside. I have opted for a sweater instead of cranking up the fire. This will be my fifth Tahoe winter, and I have been enjoying them for the most part, except for shoveling the Sierra Cement as the snow here is known. Tahoe winters are ... well ... almost balmy and tropical! Coming from the Rockies where a -4 night is common, I could probably count on both hands the sub-zero nights of the past four winters in Tahoe. However, these nights of negative numbers bring back memories of this time of year in Colorado and the yearly fortnight stretch of successive way-below-zero temperatures known as Stock Show Weather.

Stock Show weather??? Yes, Stock Show weather. Mid January is when Denver hosts the National Western Stock Show. The National Western Stock Show is a 103-year-old two-week affair of stock shows & auctions, equestrian shows, rodeos, and western galas celebrating ranching and the western lifestyle. Coinciding with this yearly extravaganza is the Arctic Express cold front that flies down from the arctic circle of northern Alaska and Canada that plunges overnight temperatures into the 30's ... below zero that is. It is not unknown for some of the high mountain areas, such as Gunnison or the Frazier Valley between Granby and Winter Park, to dive to 45-50 below during this time, giving credence to their bid for the coldest towns in the contiguous 48 states.

Do I miss the -30 nights and daytime highs of ten below? No, not really, but I do remember gathering with friends around the fire, guests camping out on the living room floor because their cars would not start, letting the faucets drip so the pipes would not freeze and burst, and the jubilation on the day that the high finally crept back over zero.

I salute Stock Show Weather from my now balmy realm of only four below!

National Western Stock Show

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