Skyway Weather Station
The Skyway observation tower is paid for and maintained by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. We are lucky to have that tower right on our trail system, just off the Sunset trail. Here is some information to help you accurately read the tower’s snow depth measurement.
This tower measures snow with a snow pillow and a snow depth sensor. So, when snow is falling the sensor measures the depth partially from the surface and partially from the falling snow. Then the sensor reads and reports fluctuating high values. This is an indicator to you that it is snowing at the tower site. Occasionally very windy days will cause blowing snow and this too can cause some dancing snow values at the tower site even without new falling snow.
When it is not snowing, the sensor readings settle down to the measurement purely from the surface. The lowest reading is probably the most accurate. Snow amounts may be different at County Line and almost certainly will be different at the Ward trails.
Another bias is its winds. The tower’s reported winds are generally lighter than what you will experience on the open trails. It is in a partially sheltered site with trees all around. Therefore the tower's wind gust readings are more representative of the sustained winds on the more open trails like Scales Lake Road, Arroyo, and Vista Valley.