The Front Range Paragliding Weather PageThis page serves as a weather resource for front range paraglider pilots and those that are interested in weather from a gliders perspective.
Surface Prog Chart
To the right is the latest Surface Prog Chart from the NOAA. This gives a high-level view of what the weather is doing. Is it going to be a capped high pressure day, low pressure overdevelopment or even possibly a frontal passage causing an upslope flow? As pressure gradient lines squeeze together you can expect higher winds.
Wunderground PWS Observations
If it is the day of, I move right to the observations from wunderground. This allows me to check weather stations up and down the front range as well as back in higher elevations behind the hill and see what the wind is actually doing. I find checking here is the best way to stop your self from getting fooled into launching. If you can confirm that there is an east wind up at 8 and 9 thousand feet with a few weather stations, it can be safe to say the wind will not make a quick switch on you.
The Skew-T really has all the information a pilot would ever want to know, lapse rate, wind speed, temp/dew spread and wind direction. I find this forecasting model to be the most accurate for determining what will happen at the hill within the 18 hour forecast period. The red line shows lapse rate in way that inversions and instability can be easily graphically interpreted. Cloudbase, expected climbs heights and more can be computed, telling you whether to bring your Acro or XC wing. Later in the summer it can be easy to predict the thunderstorms with a quick glance at instability and moisture content as the day goes on. Learning to read the Skew-T will allow you to pick the days to call in sick to work.
To use this select Start Valid Time:(-6 Hours UTC for Denver) Site:KBJC and then "interactive plot"
Aviation Forecast Discussion
This is a summary about the general area weather with aviators as the intended audience. Realize that although as paragliders we are part of this audience, the intended user is flying an aircraft with entirely different operating limitations. This can be used in conjunction with the surface prog chart and Skew-T to complete the picture.
All of the flying sites along the front range are lee side. No matter what day of the year, at some altitude above you the wind is blowing out of the west. Dont you think it would be a good idea to know what altitude and how hard its blowing? For flying on the front range a winds aloft forecast of under 20 at 12,000 feet for the DEN station is highly preferable.
Surface Wind Visualization
This map helps me understand how the Surface Analysis chart affects surface winds. Easy to see the upslope flow in Denver when the flying is good. Also a really cool art project for weather nerds!