CHASE Pacific- NORTHWEST AS ANY HOPE FOR THE ROCKIES AND SIERRA HAS FADED INTO A POWDER DREAM
I wish I had better news for New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona with models initially this week lighting up with 1-3 feet that have all but fizzled over the past several days. The hope is gone from the radar! In the short term the Pacific Northwest will stay active into the weekend with good conditions being found from Whistler through the Cascades (Still low tide from rainfall last week especially southern and central areas). The extended forecast for the West does not offer much optimism. Jay Peak has seen more snow this season than many resorts in the central or southern Rockies. Optimist: Things can change quickly so don’t give up hope as 2-3 decent deep storms can change everything. It’s just not going to happen in the next 2 weeks. The East Coast might get active in the extended forecast!
Short Term Forecast
A foot of snow fell through yesterday evening at many resorts in the central or northern regions of Washington State. Convergence zones set up (Cold air and westerly wind direction) over Snowqualmie Pass providing a foot of powder for Stevens and Alpental as of 8PM last night. I chased to Mount Baker Monday night in a $19 rental car (Thanks Orbitz), from the Seattle Airport to capture a decent powder day. The snow report was only 2-3 inches however lifts closed previously (Lift 8) offered untracked deep dense cascade classic (15% water) for my grabbing 2nd chair in the morning. Surprisingly even on chair 6 (3-4 inches) there was no bottom to be felt with smooth cushion turns at 10AM. Heavy snow fell all day with lighter densities that brought me faceshots by noon hiking turns from chair 6 (Skied more like 5-10 at this point). I jumped a 8PM flight back to Denver (24 hour chase). Storm totals ended at 12 inches. Total Airfare $230 bucks.
Here is a shot of my drive back to Seattle yesterday afternoon leaving Mount Baker:
Snow will increase on Thursday morning in most of the Cascades (WA and OR) by daybreak with moderate amounts likely during the day (4-7). Highest amounts may be found in the northern regions. Leftovers are aimed at the Panhandle of Idaho late Thursday/Friday. It’s a fast mover so expect a good cold freshening but not a deep awakening.
Below: Stevens Pass reopens today with 3 lifts after nabbing a foot of pow yesterday.
The next in a series of storms moves ashore on Friday and should provide a steady stream of light to moderate powder through the weekend. I don’t see any single deep event however the sum totals of Friday-late Saturday could exceed a foot in many areas (long duration light to moderate waves). Oregon may benefit best on Saturday as a decent shot of moisture is being depicted on models for Timberline and Bachelor. I suspect good snow will be found at Stevens, Crystal, Alpental and even higher amounts possible near Baker. The Panhandle of Idaho gets decent light to moderate leftovers this weekend with perhaps heavier amounts in store for Sunday morning. Whistler is also going to do well with perhaps 8-15 inch storm totals by late Saturday (No single deep event). Interior BC should also fare decent with moderate amounts Friday-Sunday just in time for some openings.
The Tetons and southern Montana grab light snow this weekend especially late Saturday/Sunday (Freshening of 2-5 inches possible). Most of this light or moderate moisture will stay in the northern Rockies keeping conditions fresh.
Here is a picture from the National Weather Service this morning in Utah showing current snow depth as of November 28.
Beyond the storminess In the Pacific Northwest the extended models show strong high pressure signals for the West. Currently there is no indication of this changing until at least the 2nd week of December. The East Coast gets more active with perhaps 5-10 inches in the cards for late next week for New England?
Here are the ensembles for December 6th showing a blocking ridge in the West with some storminess in the East
Its still early season! Lets think optimistically of a pattern change and 2 -3 back to back 1-2 foot storms that suddenly make changes to some spots that have seen little snow this season. Its called Powder Dreaming and keeps me going each day without looking back! It will happen! I just can’t tell you when.
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