What is up with SLC area air quality for bikers?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    on my 3rd wind...
    Reputation: SingleTrackHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,825

    New question here. What is up with SLC area air quality for bikers?

    I read some post in Utah forum and it seems like air quality/smog is an issue for bikers? Is this true or a bit of an exaggeration? I have been looking into SLC, Lehi, & Prove city as a pontential place to move this year and this air quality thing is conerning me. Tell me it ain't so! I am a full time mt biker and part time roadie.
    sth

  2. #2
    JMH
    JMH is offline
    Sugary Exoskeleton
    Reputation: JMH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,659
    During the winter you get what is called an inversion... the smog gets trapped down low underneath the clouds. It's pretty awful, and I lived in LA for eight years.

    However, it is not constant and the severity varies. It is not a problem during the rest of the year.

    In my opinion, it's no reason to avoid the area. Typically when you get bad inversion days, it's beyond cold and you should be up in Park City skiing anyway. They don't get the inversion up there.

    JMH

  3. #3
    on my 3rd wind...
    Reputation: SingleTrackHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,825
    That is not as bad as I originally thought. But I still like to get out and ride in winter...both mtb and road. I guess riding 3hr on the road bike, coupled with some climb, would be bad for my lung? I live in CO front range and it's not an issue over here.
    sth

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bleu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    344
    Because the Front Range isn't a bowl like the SL Valley. Inversions in the winter can be gnar gnar, but the smog I've seen in Denver in the summer looked just as unpleasant, if not more so.

    It really depends on the winter...some when the weather patterns are quite active there will hardly ever be inversion, others can be far worse (I remember one inversion lasting around a month a few years ago during the drought). Low pressure gets trapped in the valley by a high pressure system above it. Temperatures are miserable and pollution builds because there's nowhere for it to go. It usually takes a storm or cycling systems to get it out of here.

    This year wasn't terrible, but not good...one lasted for a couple weeks. I ride every day (courier), and the day after it was gone it was like I'd just come down 4000 feet. So much easier to breathe. I'm sure my lungs are thanking me. Maybe that's what the pain in my chest is?
    It's just frustrating sometimes being an Athena...

  5. #5

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    32
    Sorry to burst your bubble STH,
    but,
    The smog is horrible all along the Wasatch Front. It is a problem year round. It can be just as bad in the summertime. All of the local riding, with the exception of maybe the top of the Wasatch Crest is not high enough to get out of the soup. The only place to live around here if you want to be able to ride and breath is Park City. Salt Lake City is not only full of air pollution, but there is also a serious problem with littering. The place is seriously gross. There is garbage everywhere.
    The one redeeming quality about SLC is that there are is in fact a very nice trail system that is quickly accessible. Plus it is only about 25 min drive to Park City, which is absolutley awesome for all kind of riding. Still, I am trying my best to get out of here, and would caution you if air quality is a concern for you.

  6. #6
    rolls on 26's
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    128
    T.J. smog is something that comes with living in a big city. If you want to stay in a big city your never going to get away from it. And garbage everywhere? I think your looking at a few select places. littering is also something that comes with living a a big city, people can be idiots, your not going to get away from that no matter what big city your in.

  7. #7

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    32
    aj has a valid point, but I wonder if the geography in SLC intensifies the air quality problems. The inversion is a result of cold air being trapped by warm air (or maybe it's the other way around?) in the valley. The Cache valley area could hardly be classified as a "big city" yet it is notorious for horrible air quality. We are lucky here to be surrounded by big mountain ranges for great riding so close, but it seems that being in a valley makes the smog here worse than other cities. As for the litter, I will stick by my previous post. It is horrible and it is everywhere. The wind blows trash from one end of this valley to the other and everywhere inbetween. Maybe this is inevitble in any big city as aj claims, but I wonder if this problem is worse here than other cities too.

  8. #8
    on my 3rd wind...
    Reputation: SingleTrackHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,825
    Thx for the local feedback fellows. I am carefully evaluating where I want to move this year...it's still up in the air if I will at all. But if I do, it will be among SLC, Boise, & Portland, OR. Since I like to get out and ride-mt or road-about 5 times per week air quality is a big concern of mine.
    sth

  9. #9
    Bored Carp
    Reputation: chuky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,596
    Actually, in my experience, SLC is as clean as a West German village (like, almost freakish, creepy well kept). One of the first things I noticed was how neat the city seemed, as compared to experiences in California, Washington, Arizona and Texas towns and cities. Maybe this is due to the heavy Scandinavian influence? I have a Norwegian mother-in-law and she LOVES to vacuum. ;-)

    As for air quality, the inversion days are pretty gross, but on most days, I can see a good 30 miles out over the lake. Better than SoCal or Seattle.
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  10. #10
    rolls on 26's
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    128
    STH, I'm from Boise and the inversions can get bad their too, just so you know, but I like both places, definetly good places to live for riding.

  11. #11
    JMH
    JMH is offline
    Sugary Exoskeleton
    Reputation: JMH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,659
    If by "air quality" you mean "pi$$ing obscene amounts of rain" then Portland is your best bet! I will never move back to the Pacific Northwest. It's awful after a while.


    JMH

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackHound
    Thx for the local feedback fellows. I am carefully evaluating where I want to move this year...it's still up in the air if I will at all. But if I do, it will be among SLC, Boise, & Portland, OR. Since I like to get out and ride-mt or road-about 5 times per week air quality is a big concern of mine.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jro75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    91
    Quote Originally Posted by T. J.
    Sorry to burst your bubble STH,
    but,
    The smog is horrible all along the Wasatch Front. It is a problem year round. It can be just as bad in the summertime. All of the local riding, with the exception of maybe the top of the Wasatch Crest is not high enough to get out of the soup. The only place to live around here if you want to be able to ride and breath is Park City. Salt Lake City is not only full of air pollution, but there is also a serious problem with littering. The place is seriously gross. There is garbage everywhere.
    The one redeeming quality about SLC is that there are is in fact a very nice trail system that is quickly accessible. Plus it is only about 25 min drive to Park City, which is absolutley awesome for all kind of riding. Still, I am trying my best to get out of here, and would caution you if air quality is a concern for you.
    "Serious problem" with littering, huh? Guess I should be more observant cause that sounds really bad

    Anyway, the bastion of clean air, PC, starts out below 7000 feet which you hit after a couple of miles in most SLC canyons. As in, most upper trailheads.

    I know you are doing your best to get out of here though, good luck with that. Keep us posted on the litter problem wherever you end up.

  13. #13
    on my 3rd wind...
    Reputation: SingleTrackHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,825
    Are you saying that Boise has inversion and that traps smog underneath? I do realize that every cities will have smog issue with or without inversion. But real question is how often and how long smog last? I got only concerned about SLC air quality after reading another thread in Utah forum. I was more interested since I may have to move in the area. If Boise has bad air quality in same or similar fashion as SLC then I may just stay put where I am.

    As far as Portland, Pacific NW, I am not as keen on that place but sometimes career forces you to make a move in a place that is 3rd in the rank out of the choices.

    If I can have it all, I would live in Utah in the spring, Whistler in the summer, Boise or CO in the fall, and AZ in the winter.
    sth

  14. #14
    Bend, OR
    Reputation: Ross W.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    620
    I have to agree with SLC being clean. Other than Boise, it's the cleanest city I've seen.

    The inversion typically doesn't get that high either. Get above 7000' and you're usually pretty good.

    The geography of the Salt Lake Valley is definitely conducive to the inversions, which trap a lot of the pollution particles in the cloud layer. The cloud droplets actually form on the pollution particles. But without the inversion, air quality really isn't much of an issue. It really just depends on the weather as far as how long the inversion will last. The air needs to be stirred up by a storm system usually.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    212
    As everyone said, the inversion is usually not bad. We had two bad weeks so far this year. It is also a very clean city. I was in Seattle for a meeting, and I was grossed out! The smell of urine everywhere in that city. The only people that can think SLC is dirty, are folks from small towns....

  16. #16
    Bored Carp
    Reputation: chuky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,596
    Quote Originally Posted by rdalcanto
    the only people that can think SLC is dirty, are folks from small towns....
    These are probably the same people who tell me how "dangerous" downtown is. I just smile and nod...

    You have to wonder if they have ever had a urine-couch fire in THEIR alley.

    C
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  17. #17
    rolls on 26's
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    128
    STH, the inversions in Boise can get bad, but no more worse than SLC, but in both places they don't last long enough to justify not moving there, the plus about Boise too is that when it does snow in town which is only about 4-6 times each winter, it tends to be gone in a couple days, so you'd be able to road ride. but when the inversion gets bad, you can just go up to Bogus Basin and going skiing/riding, and it'll will always be bright and sunny and you get to look out on a sea of clouds. It's not uncommon for it to be in the low 30's in Boise and almost 50 at Bogus during an inversion, but the snow is not as good as it is in Utah.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.