Tour Divide: a divided tour this year

The conundrum facing the Tour Divide riders this year is quite interesting. As if the event didn’t already have enough drama, ma nature has forced some tough decisions. Snowpack is near record levels from Colorado to Banff.

There is a contingent starting in the south this year.  They are clearly in the minority (90 vs 15?) but that is likely to change.

I’ve put together a KML file that can be viewed in Google Earth.  The file contains the Tour Divide route and snowpack image overlays from Northern NM to Banff.  Got Google Earth?  Download the KML file here (right click ->save as) and check it out for yourself.  The snowpack graphics should refresh automatically on your computer so you have the latest.

The latest as of 5/26 is um, wintry. It looks white as soon as you leave Banff.

From TourDivide

The northern Montana looks a bit better, well sort of:

From TourDivide

Wyoming was the real shocker. That snow is DEEP. No wonder Dave Byers has been talking about snow so much…

From TourDivide

Colorado, not nearly so bad:

From TourDivide

Northern NM, a walk in the park. In terms of snow, anyway. I think they have a bit of drought right now.

From TourDivide

So there ya go. Now you can make a slightly more informed decision. I think JayP has nailed it – it’s a great year for an August start.

12 replies on “Tour Divide: a divided tour this year”

  1. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t put much faith in the NOHRSC data for the Canadian Rockies. Look at the June 10 2009 SWE data – I didn’t see any snow in the valleys, yet the model shows a considerable snowpack. Then check out this webcam in the Spray Valley – also no snow. I’m not sure NOAA bothers validating their model for areas that don’t contribute runoff to US watersheds.

    That being said, NW WY scares me…particularly the plateau between the Gros Ventre and the Wind Rivers. That’s not going to be anywhere near melted out for NoBo or SoBo riders leaving on June 10th!

  2. That’s cool, Dave. I copied the snowpack layer idea and made a kmz for my local high-country riding.

    Good luck to you both, should either race the Tour Divide this year!


  3. There is going to be drama on Tour Divide this year. I’m excited to watch from my armchair!!

    Love the snow pics and models.

  4. Yea, the snowpack is pretty interesting all around this year. I think they need some metrics for all the new lakes springing up here in the midwest too.

    At any rate, you can get a daily snowpack kml to dload into Google Earth (or the app of your choice. :) here: No funky alignment stuffs and all sorts of nifty overlays (snow melt, snow density, snow cover, etc.) to turn on and off.

  5. Super cool DH! Just looking at the foothills around Teton Valley, ID today I would have to guess that even the lower elevation areas near Warm River Campground and Grassy Lake Rd will be snowy on June 10th. And Moran Junction to Dubois, WY…yikes! Not only have we had a ton of snow, we just haven’t had ANY warm days. It was 42F on my lunchtime run today here in Victor, ID aka Ice Station Zebra.

  6. Ah, excellent – thanks for the link Jim.

    Are you going to make a trip out here soon? :)

  7. Hey Dave,

    Yep, I’m rolling out for Denver today. Barring unforeseen circumstances, looking at a Thurs or Fri evening GL start from Westwater.

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