Skiers dreaming of a white Christmas and a chance to hit the slopes at Red Mountain will have to wait another week.
The ski hill was scheduled to open Saturday but unseasonably warm weather and rain has put a damper on early expectations and pushed the tentative opening date to Dec. 20.
“We were looking good with coverage top-to-bottom. The snow up top is still good—and still falling—but the warm temps from this “pineapple express” have adversely affected the snow at the bottom of the mountain,” said a release on the Red website.
While snow continues to fall at higher elevation, the base of Red is in need of some fresh powder. Forecasts call for the dissipation of the Pineapple Express this weekend, and snow from Dec. 18 to 20.
The Pineapple Express is a relatively common weather pattern that brings southwest winds to the Pacific Northwest along with warm, moist air. The name comes from the source of the moisture: The tropical Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
The Pineapple Express sometimes produces days of heavy rain, which can cause extensive floods. The warm air also can melt snow in the mountains, further aggravating flooding.
During the colder parts of the year, the warm air can be cooled enough to produce heavy, upslope snow as it rises into the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada or Cascade mountain ranges.