Hope everyone had a great winter and is looking forward to some good riding for 2019.

I had a funny call with a tour operator from Vietnam the other day. After a productive 20 minutes of chatting about tour routes, rider ability, etc. I asked her what time of year she wanted to come over; “mid-April she replied.”   Unable to resist I asked if she wanted to do a motorcycle tour or a snow skiing tour. Unlike last year where the high country opened up in mid-June this year we have 125% snowpack. March and April are some of our snowiest months so there is always a chance things could change but long range models are not forecasting drought. The attached link is very helpful in understanding ride conditions. You can search by state.

https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/basin.html

Colorado and Utah  ie. the Colorado Plateau, have a continental climate and are high in elevation. This mean our temperatures are not moderated by the sea and conditions can change very quickly. This winter I played soccer outdoors in 61 f and 2 days later had to play indoors with a high of 12 f. In the Colorado Rockies it can snow ANY time of the year. Our monsoon season typically runs from July 1 to mid August. This means very heavy afternoon storms and hail.. Plan on starting your riding early and finishing by 2 pm. On the positive side the mountain flowers are incredible. Off road mountain passes will likely not be open until mid-July and bear in mind that mountain snowmelt will make streams impassable. Utah riding opens up earlier however the Lasalle and Abajo Mountains have had a lot of snow this year and probably will not be open until June. Of course July has temps >100 f so you always need to be aware of how you handle heat and of course plan on carrying at least a gallon of water. Utah mud is atrocious and given the option of mud or heat I’ll opt for heat every time. A cold beer at the end of a ride always makes heat more bearable.

Bottom line: The weather on the Colorado Plateau is tremendously variable and elevation varies from 2000m/4200 ft to 4000m/12200 ft.  Elevation is hugely (Trumpism;) important in determining ride conditions as a single day of off tarmac riding can take you from 25c and heat to snow and mud. Best time of year to ride is September. Don’t rely on your GPS to tell you where to go!