On Wednesday, I hiked at the lower elevation of Sabino Canyon (images to come) and since Mount Lemmon Is around the corner, drove there to check out the Catalina Highway road closure situation that has caused quite a stir. Ski Valley, above the town of Summerhaven, has received 40" of snow so far, perhaps a record for this time of the year. The successive cold fronts that have swept through have brought colder air and so the snow has reached almost to the desert floor.
The joke among locals is how can you have a ski operation that closes when it snows? Of course, Ski Valley is open but Pima County is outmatched when it comes to snow removal. I talked to one of the deputies at the barricade and he explained the snow plows won't work anymore because they can no longer throw the snow above what lines the road. They have to use a front end loader instead which is slower. The deputy said he has been here 13 years and never seen the snow so low on the mountain.
It was a circus atmosphere as dozens of cars lined the highway with people walking into the desert to have their picture taken alongside snow covered cactus. Some or many of these people have no experience driving on snow covered roads and I hear it is chaotic when they venture up the mountain. Not a good time to be on your bike up there for several reasons.