Yet another January scarce in snow..

Sea of cloud, seen from the West face of Maliciosa.

Sea of cloud, seen from the West face of Maliciosa in early January 2017.

I hate to be repetitious but that’s the way January is in the mountains of Guadarrama in recent times. Scarce in snow. Prodigious in days of high pressure, sun, temperature inversion and seas of cloud..

The same sea of cloud seen from the summit of Maliciosa, 2227m, looking South to Madrid.. the city of course swathed in fog.

The same sea of cloud seen from the summit of Maliciosa, 2227m, looking South to Madrid.. the city of course swathed in fog.

..and low in snow. Some years we get rain but hardly any snow, even up high. No rain either this year though. Drought, basically. Those of us bent on skiing survived on a meager ration of white stuff that fell in mid-December.

My son skinning on bulletproof white stuff, Peñalara, early January.

My son skinning on bulletproof white stuff, Peñalara, early January.

We’ve seen worse of course. Like nothing at all. Hardly a flake of decorative snow, let alone skiable matter. This year it’s not quite that bad.

Ready to slide, top of Peñalara. Doesn't look so bad, does it?

Ready to slide, top of Peñalara. Doesn’t look so bad, does it?

However, the reality is that the above shot makes things look really good. Ouch. So, a couple of days out on our bikes. We got a few days of mechanical ski in not quite totally minimal conditions at one of our local stations. As the month wore on into its final third, we finally saw some precipitation..coming from the South/SouthEast once more, so not supergenerous, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Fresh snow at last, twenty days into January. Thirty-something since the last snowfall.

Fresh snow at last, twenty days into January. Thirty-something since the last snowfall.

Although twenty centimeters doesn’t change things a lot, it does at least look nice. For a day or two anyhow. Don’t you think?

The South face of Peñalara looking sweet. A kind of mirage.. two days later it was all browngraygreen again.

The South face of Peñalara looking sweet. A kind of mirage.. two days later it was all browngraygreen again.

North facing slopes fared best, conserving a meager layer of old hard-frozen snow and looking very esthetic – and less ephemeral – with the new stuff on top..

North face of Cabezas de Hierro, late afternoon, late January.

North face of Cabezas de Hierro, late afternoon, late January.

..and even offering fleeting moments of ‘powder’ ski. Wow! I began to fantasize that i was in Canada for a few minutes..

Powder chute, North face of Cabezas de Hierro.

Powder chute, North face of Cabezas de Hierro.

..and then just below this point – where i stopped to look back up and whip out my phone – i began to bang into rocks all over the place. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. No, this is Guadarrama. Definitely not Canada in January.

In these very last days of the month, as is the pattern over the last decade, things seemed to change. A storm finally washed in from the West bringing a reasonable snowfall, 10-12cm here in town (1200m) and 30-40cm at 1800-2000m. The follow-up looks set to continue to be humid, though rain and ‘pissing mist’ – niebla meona – now threaten. Oh well, that’s Guadarrama. Take it as it comes.

Lots of snow doesn’t always mean tons of wonderful goodness. Look at the central region of Italy where they’ve had 3 to 4 meters in the high Apennines..and the misfortune that has befallen as a result. Some of us can be thankful for our lives, wouldn’t you agree?

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About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
This entry was posted in children in Nature, Climate change, Mountain, Nature, ski, snow, the seasons, Weather and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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