Temperature inversions in Jackson Hole are a weather phenomenon that all skiers and riders should be aware of. On winter days with temperature inversions in Jackson Hole, temperatures on the upper mountain can be 30-40 degrees warmer than at the valley floor. Read on to make sure you’re in the know on temperature inversions, which are perfect days to “Go Up to Warm Up” as MountainWeather.com meteorologist Jim Woodmencey says.
On cold winter days when valley temperatures hover around 0 degrees or below, you should always check the upper elevation temperatures as they can be as much as 30-40 degrees higher during an inversion than at the bottom of the mountain. Forecasts on sites like mountainweather.com are helpful in preparing ahead, while checking jacksonhole.com and JH Tapped should be part of your daily ski routine to check live temperatures before you leave the door. Make sure to check the differences in temperature at various elevations to see if there is an inversion and how strong it is.
What should you do when you see that there is a temperature inversion? Easy, go skiing! Stay up at the higher elevations to enjoy the relatively balmy temps. If you are known to suffer from “FOMO” don’t be the skier that takes the day off thinking it’s too cold, only to see your friends come back in the afternoon with smiles on their faces and fresh goggle tans.
Temperature inversions are often (but not always) characterized by valley fog and beautiful sunshine above the inversion at the upper elevations. Local skiers/riders have come to call this view above the clouds the “Sea of Dreams.” Those who are in the know relish the beauty of these days and it’s almost impossible to take a bad photograph.
Without getting too in-depth on the science behind temperature inversions, you can expect to find them in Jackson Hole when we have clear skies and high pressure overhead. According to Woodmencey, “A temperature inversion is when the air in the valley is colder than the air above it.” While typically temperatures get colder as you go up in elevation, an inversion is just the opposite with temperatures increasing as you go up in elevation. According to Woodmencey, “strong inversions might see a temperature difference between the base of the mountain and 10,000 feet of 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you check the temperature forecast for both the valley and the mountains on mountainweather.com to know if it’s a good day to ‘Go Up to Warm Up’.”
See you at the top!