AN ATMOSPHERIC RIVER IS GOING TO POUND THE WEST WITH SNOW FALLING IN THE NORTHERN ROCKIES. A GLIMMER OF HOPE EXISTS FOR THE SUMMITS OF THE SIERRA LATE THIS WEEKEND AND MOST OF COLORADO AND UTAH ON SUNDAY. DODGING THE WARM TEMPS WILL BE TRICKY
Summary 4/4/18 AM report
It’s not common to see a swath of 3-5 inches of liquid moisture to slam the Sierra in April. Significant rain will be falling over much of the Sierra this weekend with high elevation snow elsewhere. Moderate snow will be falling in the Cascades today eventually teasing Montana with 9-15 inches of pow by late Thursday. Moisture impacts the Tetons and most of Colorado in the extended period with significant snow above 9000 feet. Chasing will be tricky with snow levels your worst enemy unless you head north this week. Late in the weekend may offer your best central Rockies chase (Utah or Colorado). Next week stays wet with the Cascades in the bulls eye of several systems and occasional colder air. Significant rain will fall from the Sierra into the central Rockies below 10,000 feet initially this weekend. Some snow is possible in the Sierra Saturday night at upper elevations.
Short Term Forecast
The previous 2 days has brought an epic April chase leaving Jackson at 4 AM Monday (Raining) and grabbing my first day ever at Big Sky Resort. It was snowing heavily on arrival (7-9 inches by 8 AM) and even arrived in time for 1st chair with “Brian” the snow reporter for Big Sky. Conditions were epic Monday with another 4-7 inches during the day, good quality, and most of the terrain open (Tram shut down at 11:30 AM as well as hike terrain). Tuesday brought a repeat powder day with more variable conditions from winds, and openings of terrain that was closed Monday. Jackson got pounded with 8-15 inches of snow Monday, rain at the base and high winds with variable upper elevations conditions. This is the final weekend for JHMR with high elevation snow in the forecast.
Below: Here is a look from the tram on Tuesday from Big Sky. Everything in the far background was ride worthy especially if you like technical terrain
SYNOPSIS: Pow will be falling in the central and southern WA Cascades today (Snowing currently) before warmer air moves in late. If your in WA head out the door now and plan to ski Wednesday after 11 AM (4-8 inches). Additional snow will fall above 4500 or 5,000 feet tonight. Quality could be chase worthy especially from Stevens Pass and south towards Crystal by early afternoon (Warming late AM).
While most areas of the west warm up, some cold air will be featured in Montana that gets as far south as the Wyoming border this week. Cold air in the Tetons today (Snowing currently) will bring moderate snow to Jackson and Targhee Wednesday through Thursday morning. Warming over the Tetons will occur later Wednesday so decent quality light snowfall will be prevalent this morning before rain starts falling at the base late Wednesday. Thursday may feature 4-8 inches of dense snow at the summits for 1st chairs or tram. Montana is seeing snowfall today (Light) especially in the north and central regions of the State. Snow will increase slightly tonight and Thursday (locations favored will be from Butte to Missoula). You may see 4-7 inches by last chair Thursday at Montana Snowbowl. Less snow will fall at Big Sky and Bridger (2-4) but will increase late Thursday and Friday. I am expecting an additional 3-6 inches at the Snowbowl for Friday morning (Storm totals in the 7-13 inch range). The best days to ride will be late Thursday and early Friday. Quality will be decent before a warming trend happens late Friday morning. There will be no single double digit dump in 24 hours. Totals should be decent with the light snow from Wednesday and moderate snow Thursday/Friday.
Big Sky and Bridger, should see another 3-6 inches Thursday night bringing storm totals in the 5-10 inch range by early Friday (2 day totals). Quality will be good with cold air. Best days to ride southern Montana will be Friday morning.
Below: Warm air impacts most areas Thursday night with cold air north of Wyoming (roughly 5500 Feet shown in C). Position of the colder air Thursday night/Friday morning will make significant differences in total snowfall near these lines.