Is it over? No, its not over by any stretch but we are stuck in some boring powder ahead for the northern Rockies.
Summary March 27, 2018 8PM
As you can tell from some of the forecasts, we are getting a bit tired, posts are shortening, days are longer, and the next 5 days features snow but just not the 1-2 feet you want to hear! By no means is this season over. April and May often deliver deep days without the crowds. Some light to moderate snow is possible near the Front Range of Colorado late Wednesday/Thursday (Mountains north of I-70 are favored) and the interior BC region may be your best bet late this week if your really desperate. Its late on Tuesday so my forecast if your reading it on Wednesday may need to be tweaked which may happen later in the day. I only tweak a forecast if it needs an update.
Short Term Forecast
The Cascades will remain in a cool showery pattern with high snow levels. The 10-18 inches on the chase forecast for Mount Baker happened in the past 2-3 days. Snow quality started out decent and ended very dense. Much less snow fell in the southern Cascades however Alpental (Technically central Cascades) scored a foot at the summit. The base was most likely a mix of snow and rain. Mt Bachelor saw 19 inches in the past 7 days but conditions have deteriorated with warming. The week ahead features light snow above 5500 feet with nothing to get excited about. The summits near Whistler may do better (Environment Canada is only calling for 2-3 inches this week) with my forecast more bullish by Saturday. More snow may fall in the northern areas of BC by the weekend (Peaking on Friday). Northern areas are favored.
In the Rockies I scored what seems like the last semi deep powder day for Utah for the next week or longer. I forecasted 4-8 inches for the Cottonwoods for Monday. As of Sunday night I pretty much gave up on the forecast (2 inches had fallen above 8,000 feet as moisture weakened and hope was lost). By 6AM the snow telemetry was up to 4 inches at Alta and 7 inches at Snowbasin. My decision was quick to the punch for Snowbasin where I enjoyed high quality snow at the peaks (John Paul followed by the rope drop of upper Strawberry). The snow deteriorated to a 5 inches on crust at mid or lower elevations. The upper mountain was a perfect 10 for a 7 inch day at Snowbasin. Alta and Snowbird caught up between 6AM and 9AM when another 2-4 inches fell meeting my original forecast (4-8). I had no hope earlier that morning and heard conditions were very good at upper elevations of Snowbird Monday.
Below: My 7-8 inch turns at Snowbasin on Monday morning.
Colorado got the short stick with more snow falling east of the divide than the mountain locations (1-4 inches fell in many spots west of the Divide not worth a chase).
The week ahead offers some hope for Montana (Steady light snow) especially Bridger Bowl who like NW wind direction. Look for 3-5 inches or more through early Thursday. Higher amounts are possible with NW orographics and cold air (Not a very moist system). Big Sky may not fare as well as Bridger?
Colorado grabs another Front Range storm Wednesday late AM through early Thursday. Thursday should offer a better chance of power north of I-70. The last storm favored southern areas. This storm is going to offer some hope for light or moderate snow to the ski areas with higher amounts east of the Divide. It’s possible that the mountains west of Fort Collins or northern areas of Rocky Mountain National Park score the highest amounts. I’m going to venture to say 2-5 inches west and 7-9 inches east of the Divide. Steamboat may also be in the mix on this one! More snow is possible just west of Fort Collins.
Another system dropping from BC (Cold air) will offer moderate snow to Whitefish (4-8) before zipping south into central Wyoming and Colorado for the weekend. The GFS models are not overly bullish for Colorado (Light snow likely). The latest EURO is wetter showing moderate to heavy snow possible for the Front Range resorts late Saturday into Sunday. NW flow is likely this weekend into next week keeping snow showers in the forecast for Colorado. Montana will stay in the mix with light snow continuing into next week (Whitefish keeps scoring low end powder days). Interior Montana just west of the Snowbowl (One of our favorite mom and pops only a few miles from Missoula) may score heavy snow early next week. It’s also possible the snowbowl edges out some decent amounts as well but it’s a gamble since the most snow will be slightly east.
Its likely that beginning around April 7th the west gets more active with more significant snowfall moving into the Cascades and dropping south into perhaps the Sierra and Rockies. Its too far out to predict locations however confidence is increasing for a more active pattern to break the boredom of the next 7 days.
Below: Pattern change likely at the end of the 1st week of April for the west.
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