Forecast

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.

 

 

 

 

Colorado gets light or moderate high elevation snow on Thursday night/Friday favoring the northern mountains.  Areas that could see the most snow likely will favor areas along or north of I-70. Temps are warm with this storm so the highest totals will be above 9,000 feet.  Models seem to favor Rabbit Ears Pass, and perhaps the Steamboat summit (Very little snow will fall at the base) as well as spots in Grand County (Winter Park).  Its not a significant system, but should offer 3-6 inches for most resorts by Friday morning with isolated pockets of 5-9 inches. I can’t tell you if any of the ski areas actually see the higher end of the forecast totals and hope to narrow it in on my next post.

The atmospheric river impacts the Sierra late this week into the weekend. Significant rainfall is likely in most of the Sierra with up to 4-5 inches of moisture.  Temps stay warm until late Saturday/Sunday. Snowfall is likely at the summits late this weekend favoring the southern Sierra (Mammoth).  These are the types of storms that are not chase worthy from any distance. It’s possible that Sunday morning offer a glimmer of hope for the summits of some ski areas.

Below: Total moisture in the Sierra through late Saturday

 

Extended Forecast

Significant moisture from the Sierra moves into the Wasatch and most of Colorado this weekend. Temps will keep snow above 10,000 feet initially before dropping to 7500-8,000 feet Sunday. High elevation snow is possible, especially in Colorado with higher peaks this weekend. Rain may be falling at the bases in most areas Saturday before turning to all snow Sunday.  Winds start out from a warmer SW direction before switching to the NW on Sunday. Peak moisture for the Rockies will be late Saturday through Sunday. Moisture and slightly cooler air will be possible in the northern Rockies (Lighter amounts).  Look for a possible powder day on Sunday for most of Colorado (Dense deep snow) and perhaps the summits in Utah or Wyoming.  An unsettled pattern with very moist systems and occasional cooler air will impact the Cascades next week. It’s possible that they score some significant snow from this weekend (High snow levels) through next week (Lowering snow levels at times).  The Panhandle of Idaho may see some colder temps this weekend with a good chance of snowfall near Schweitzer.

It’s going to be a wild ride over the next 7 days!  I can’t pinpoint details this far out but stay tuned for a wet pattern over the next 7 days.

End of season powder fund drive! 

Please consider feeding our powder bank ($25 helps us fill up a tank of gas). As part of the $75 donation/sock program you get custom forecasts for 1 season (Reach out to info@powderchasers.com or send us a message on FB).

NEW donation program where we have partnered with Point 6 socks (Merino wool and our top pic for quality) for ski socks on all donations $75 or more. Please help feed our powder forecasters! These socks are sweet (lifetime warranty) and Powderchasers top pick! ($25 value). Specify your foot size in the comment section on the donation link.  (10% of all donations goes to 3 Avalanche centers in the West- NWAC, CO, UT).  send us the powder love if you can. 

Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Comments

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  1. Hey Steve, This is Brian on Maui. Wanted to say thanks and let you know I just made a $50.00 donation. Keep up your ‘Pow Chase Stoke’ and all the good work with your website – I appreciate you Big Time! BTW I did a 10 week Chase this winter and had the best time. My trip started at the beginning of January in the Great White North as that’s where the snow was. Did B.C. , Montana, Wyoming, Utah and finished in Tahoe for the 2nd big dump of March. Scored everywhere I visited, but believe it or not got one of the deepest pow days of my entire trip in Motts Canyon at Heavenly on March 16th. Just an awesome winter adventure all the way around. Anyways, I definitely was checking in on your website before every surgical hit….you do an excellent job of calling it. Thanks again and Aloha!

  2. Steve, sorry to hear about your ACL. Hopefully it wasn’t the same knee from a couple years ago?

    Of course this storms arrives in Aspen the day I leave. Thinking about extending my stay but need to be in Phoenix Tuesday morning and I am driving. How bad does the storm look Sunday night? If I ride on Sunday morning and try to make it to Moab Sunday afternoon does that sound foolish to you? Any indication which of the four mountains might do best from this storm pattern?

    Appreciate you guys. -Powder Coyote

  3. Have come across an interesting theory while searching weather patterns. It’s a direct correlation between spikes in wave height at buoy #51101 off the NW coast of Kauai and storms that typically hit two weeks later in the Wasatch.

    All I can say is looking at historical data – it’s spot on and so is the guy(more here https://www.skiutah.com/blog/authors/jodi/how-a-buoy-near-kauai-can-predict) that discovered this theory. One interesting thing to note for the unpleasant dry socket looming over the rockies – there was a recent spike in wave height a few days ago, meaning a storm for the Wasatch around the 16th and then a series. Who knows

  4. This is why I quit skiing… my last big trip was up to Valdez five years ago … I haven’t been to Las Lenas in more than a decade. I surf now… a couple of hundred days a year. The oceans can’t melt but it’s true that the rising seas are effecting the breaks, too…

  5. This is “impossible”, because it doesn’t “Snow” anymore, much less in May/Spring !

    Snow Fall “vanished” decades ago with the increase of Man-made-Global-Warming so this is nothing but “Flat-Earther” propaganda !!

    THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED !!!

    The Arctic Sea Ice is long gone, the Greenland Ice Glacier’s have melted, Antarctic Ice is hanging on by a thread and the U.S./European Ski Resorts closed long ago, in fact, todays Children have no idea what Snow is much less Snow Fall !!!

    In fact, the University of Colorado leads the way in debunking this kind of Propaganda so this report only “proves” how dysfunctional (Illiterate) the average American is ???

    Once again…

    THE SCIENCE IS [ SETTLED ] and it’s not a matter of if but when this kind of “Speech” will finally be silenced (Impeached)!

    This has been brought to you by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) @ the University of Colorado

    • Science has struggled to explain fully why an ice age occurs every 100,000 years. SO THE SCIENCE ISN’T SETTLED (screaming never settled any Science)

      Glacial periods last tens of thousands of years. Temperatures are much colder, and ice covers more of the planet.

      On the other hand, interglacial periods last only a few thousand years and the climate conditions are similar to those on Earth today. We are in an interglacial period right now. It began at the end of the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago.

      • Your response is exactly the BS being referred to… what is happening and will continue to happen and get much much much worse is supported by hard and real science, worldwide. What you are repeating above is fossil fuel culture gibberish. Read Eaarth by Bill McKibbon and any of a hundred other books or a thousand scientific papers. In the ten thousand PHD climate change thesis’s published since 2005 – TWO supported your claim. It’s a lie.

        • Hey TJ this is perfect for you, you are the man to save us all from……

          COW FARTS “A single cow, on average, releases 70 to 120 kgs of methane per year. Now, it is important to remember that we’re talking about a single cow. Worldwide, there are approximately 1.5 billion cows and bulls, each emitting that much methane. That’s a lot of extremely harmful greenhouse gas! Methane is 23 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Also, when methane mixes with oxygen in the atmosphere, gradually, it transforms into carbon dioxide.”
          I, on the other hand, will go feed hamburgers and hot dogs to the hungry and homeless.

  6. Heading to Park City Feb 15th-22nd .. will be doing a couple of backcountry days earning my turns in the cottonwoods but mostly at the resorts with the fam. Been seeing mixed reports of rain during that time period. What do you think? Thanks!

    • Your getting the goods to some extent. Small system due for the 16th and another better shot of moisture 19th through the 20th! These systems wont be real cold but “Cold enough” for all snow on the mountains. Colder air moves in late on the 20th into the 21st with low land snow near SLC (Tail end of the storm). If you post on Powderchasers forums we can help you further. Please feed our powder bank on the website! PCS

  7. Steve, do you know of a Canada specific Powderchaser type website? With this warmer weather hovering over the entire US I am sure that some of these more northern (US) storms have to be bleeding over into British Columbia, with more ideal colder temperatures. Any chance you can mention the Powder Highway mountains when the rest of the US is getting less desirable “cream cheese”?

    • Not really. I work for Opensnow.com as well (THe Chase) and believe there is a section for Whistler. It will cool down this weekend. Can you post on the forums on the homepage and I can respond with more details. Canada is cooler but it’s not blower.

  8. We were down in Calfornia late last week and into the weekend. After getting shut out by wind closers as you predicted, we packed up and moved to SLC. Yesterday at Snowbird was awesome! Today should be even better if they’re able to run the tram. Anyhow, I’ve been keeping an eye on NOAA’s forecast for Baker and it looks insane. Are you guys still up that way? Do you think there is any chance they’ll actually be opertaing lifts by tomorrow, or even this weekend?

    • It’s still a ways out. The 10th looks very good for the Tetons, sierra, sun valley (deep friday Perhaps Saturday). Colorado or utah Saturday or Sunday but lower confidence due to 7 days out. Please donate on our homepage to feed our powder jar

      • Wednesday looks good for Tuesday night snow as well
        As Monday night. Thursday not as good. Late week looks Good Friday to Saturday next week but Teton’s and sun valley might be better. Please donate on powderchasers if possible or did you already? We provide custom chase plans for any donations of $50 or more being a not for profit site currently. PCS

  9. I hope it’s ok to share this story here since your recent Powder Alerts have featured Squaw Valley/Sierras and the huge dumps the last 2 to 3 weeks. I thought it was appropriate to honor Joe Zuiches from Squaw Valley who passed away this morning during avalanche control activities. Joe was a ski patrolman/powder chaser that looked after all of us in some way from before first tram to post closing while sharing his love of snow that we all seek. Please remember that the Ski Patrol everywhere is a gift that keeps giving..

    http://mynews4.com/news/local/squaw-valley-ski-patoller-dies-in-avalanche-resort-closed

    • I agree and planned to do it! perhaps I include it in a future post as terrible tragedy like that we will never forget! Stay tuned and we will write something up. PCS

  10. Powderchaser Steve.. You nailed it.. I was there Thurs for the opening of KT-22 too.. Untouched but heavy.. Not much open that day typical Squaw recently. Seems they are worried about opening lifts even with sub 20mph winds because of the different high temps/ layers of snow. But that shouldn’t affect most of their lifts. They are overwhelmed again with now 5 feet in last 4 days. Jackson has been my home hill for last 35 yrs and have skied Sierras for 45 yrs but I still prefer 0 degrees and less light fluff(10″-16″) than huge 30 degrees dump of Sierra Cement. Not all pow is created equal but any pow is better than groomers.. Love moguls.. No disrespect to snowcat crews.. That’s why we chase!! A fun time had by all.

    • WE agree 100%. I was just noticing that. I am going to issue a special post on FB related to this. My expectation is 9-13 inches mainly Sunday PM through mid morning Monday. Powderchaser Steve

      • right on man! Newbie to your site but I like the forecast layout and the guest/employee interaction. Once the weather pattern changes I would love some updates on Montana weather (other than big sky), most sites give the 406 very little attention.
        Powder gas $ coming your way! Cheers & keep up the good work!

  11. Last year’s plan turned into this year’s trip! Wifey and I are headed to Bozeman / Bridger Bowl Tuesday January 24 through Saturday January 28; any good news for some dumps there?

    • Darn! Darn! The ridge settles in next week for the entire West so other than great skiing at those resorts, and atmosphere I cant put waist deep on your skis. I wish I had the power to zip a foot of pow your way. Hopefully the models have it wrong but I am not optimistic. Try some new activities in MT? Fat biking? Dog Sledding? enjoy the terrain regardless of pow?

      PCS

  12. I’m heading out to Big Sky also for Super Bowl week and hoping to see some of these big dumps head their way. How’s it looking for Southern Montana?

    • See my response below to another question I just answered on Big Sky. Not good for the next 14 days except 6 inches late this week. beyond the 14 day period anything can change so lets hope that it shifts back after the 1st week of February.

      We work on donations if you need custom forecasts or feel like throwing the powder gas our way. PCS

  13. What’s up with Big Sky this year? When will the jet stream rise? I am going for Mardi Gras and conditions aren’t all too good. Hoping for the best though.

    • They had such a good start! Big Sky has lots to offer even if you don’t get the POW. You wont’ remember anything after Mardi Gras anyway right? I don’t see any big dumps in the west after this next cycle that will last 7 days but only skim Big Sky with up to 6 inches expected late this week. Have fun in MT and let us know if you need a custom forecast. We work on donations. Thanks

    • High pressure starts on the 25th and may last for at least a week that we can see. That might not fare well for you but lets hope it looks more optimistic for the longer range. I see high pressure until at least February 2nd currently which is as far as the ensembles show currently.

    • I am going to look more closely on Friday! My take at this point is to stay away from areas that may get several feet of snow including Mammoth due to not opening upper terrain. Smaller resorts may offer more opportunity to mitigate AVY dangers like Homewood, Alpine Meadows or perhaps even the KT 22 chair at Squaw (Lower mountain but great terrain if open). I am debating a chase to the Tetons this Sunday night as 2-3 feet is likely there and resorts there especially Grand Targhee are more likely to open. More later! Hope that helps.

  14. I have pesos in Mammoth Lakes for Sunday Monday–Looks like RAIN on all forecasts for Sunday! Think I should I move to Monday Tuesday?

    • Just saw this! Powder is great for wide open terrain with little or no crowds. A bit low angle when compared to other resorts. The cat skiing is much better (around $20 per run) but the runs are short. Great place just depends what you are looking for.

  15. “My confidence is extremely high for the Oregon Cascades (Thursday/Friday), Tetons of Wyoming (Get your snorkels out), Central Idaho (Sun Valley, Brundage)…”

    Why you be dissin on Bogus Basin? If your confidence is high for Brundage then it should be equally as high for Bogus. They open for the season on Sat, just like Brundage. Both have only announced beginner lift openings so far but betting that gets stepped up tomorrow once the dumpage is in full swing.

    Loving La Nina!

    • I don’t know Bogus Basin as an area I have not explored. I would never diss any resort as rarely there is pessimisim. All resorts with new snow are good in my books 🙂 Tell me more about Bogus.

      • Most riders don’t know Bogus and we like it that way. In short… best terrain in southern Idaho, very affordable lift passes, conveniently close to Boise. Biggest shortcoming is snow amounts and the relatively low elevation.

        Tell ya what, next time you’re making a chase this way hit me with an email and I’ll give you a personal tour of our gem.

  16. Best place to hit Dec 5th to get some powder? Was thinking the Oregon Cascades (Mount Hood, Timberline) any suggestions. Going to ride Dec 4 to 6 so looking for best accumulation on Sunday Dec 4th to hit Monday and Tuesday.

    • Hey BHD, where are you chasing from? I think you might be making the right call given the amount of base that Mt. Hood has. Could be great on Monday considering it would be a Monday without the weekend warriors a lot of new snow, and really cold temperatures. Possibly new terrain openings, which could mean deepness, poor snow coverage, or both. These are the lowest temps I have ever seen forecasted for Oregon. Grand Targhee Resort in Driggs, Idaho an hour from Jackson could be real deep by Monday morning as well. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort still needs more base given it is a steeper mountain than Grand Targhee. Is there something more appealing with Timberline compared to Mt. Hood Meadows this time of year? I have seen some great powder footage from Mt. Hood Meadows this season.

    • Initially 8000 feet under SW flow (Snowing pretty well on Monday in many areas up high). The snow level drops Monday night and Tuesday to 5500 however moisture is weaning. Total snow now for the Cottonwoods just tweaked higher to 6-10 inches in our books.

  17. Damn!! I totally planned an itinerary around this post from April 6-10. Shame on me for not connecting the dots! Thank goodness I didn’t prepay for the Hotel

    We’re here in Santa Barbara, CA and ready to take off from Apr 6-10….PC what might you suggest for where we could reroute for first time Powder seekers. I’ve never experienced the pow-goods yet, and was stoked to find your alerts/site here. Utmost goal for this trip, powder and being thick in the storm of it.

    Mammoth? Snowbird? Whistler? Snowmass/Aspen/Vail/Breckenridge?

    • DARN. So sorry about that. The next snow we see is monday-Wednesday over the Cascades. Snow levels will be above the base levels but lower to the bases late Tuesday. Might see a foot of wet snow on the upper peaks. After that I don’t see much until next weekend when I think you want to travel? Snow returns from the south pushing into the Sierra with 9,000 foot snow levels (Rain at the base). That storm pushes over the southern mountains of Colorado by next weekend as well (Sat or Sun). Warm air will bring high density snow but with higher elevations might score some powder. Wolf Creek if they are still open would be an early guess right now (High elevation). As we get closer please repost to me and I can narrow it down for you.

  18. So I am either super stoked or this April Fool’s cuts a little too deep…

    For the sake of my mind, please tell me if this an April Fool’s… If it is, then it doesn’t hurt to ask. If it isn’t, and we don’t go, then that would be terrible.

  19. Looking to dodge out of work- ?Where to go next Wednesday (27th)through Friday/Saturday? Utah, CO or elsewhere? Just got back from CO and had great POW.

  20. Hey guys,

    excited about the storms rolling in the west!!

    What is your opinion about the 2 storms this coming to the Sierra in the next days, do you think Mammoth and Tahoe will have similar amounts or Tahoe will do much better?

    Thanks a lot!!!

  21. Last posting. We have a one bedroom villa at Westgate Park City resort and Spa for November 29 – December 6th $400 for the week. Going rate is $1600 for the week. feel free to email me if you are interested. Should be awesome snow in Alta, Bird and Solitude

    chris@dubia.me

  22. Still not takers for our place at the Westgate Park City resort and Spa for November 29 – December 6th. Will lower the price to $400. Conditions should be good in the Park City area and great in Alta and Snowbird area. South facing aspects look to favor deeper.

  23. Anyone who is interested – have a 1 bedroom villa at the Westgate Park City resort and Spa for November 29 – December 6th. Snow should still be fantastic still. Offering it for $500 – goes for $1600.

    Feel free to email me if you’re interested. chrisatdubiadotme

  24. Photo of base area with snow on picnic tables is not Alpental, it’s SILVER FIR, (formerly Summit East, formerly Pacwest). Alpental is to the north and about 2500 vertical feet higher.

  25. Steve,

    Thoughts on Alta – Snowbird for March 21 – 30. Anything good on the horizon? Looking at the long term Euro and it shows a swath of moisture..Not sure though.

    • I am really liking the evening of the 24th and daytime 25th. Cold front and Westerly flow= good chance of decent snow. Most likely will be good since I am not in town on the 25th (Always happens when I am out of pocket).

  26. Steve,

    Taos is looking super deep for this weekend. I am chasing with a buddy Saturday (2/25) to Tuesday (3/3). We rented a 2 bedroom condo on the mountain so if your powder chasing adventures take you to Taos please know you have a place to crash at our pad (let me know and I can email you details).

    By the way I met you on the lift line at Blue Sky Basin earlier this season (right before Christmas). I knew I was in the right place when you showed up and the lift opened shortly thereafter!

    • I might end up there. Traveling with a buddy. Can you accommodate us tonight? Things look good for the next 3 days. I need to be slightly concerned with moisture streaming north and further west on Sunday? Wolf creek will get the deepest however Taos would be very good

      • We can’t check in till Saturday so you guys are more than welcome starting then. We are flying in this evening and staying at a motel in taos town tonight

    • CB can do well with SW flow. If the moisture gets that far north it will be very good. My confidence is 60% for 5-10 inches. Wolf and Durango will do better with southern influence. CB can sometimes do better than Telluride under SW flow. Not sure why Telluride did so good on the last storm! I would watch that POW Cam and make last minute chases.

  27. Hey Steve, I have a group of three guys with me and we’re willing to travel anywhere in the country for the deepest driest powder we can find this weekend. Can you give me your top three resorts in order. You’ll be our hero. From what I can gather I’m guessing its Colorado somewhere but I’d love you’re best pics.

Special Thanks to Some of Powderchaser's Favorite Gear: