SNOW RETURNS TO THE CASCADES AND NORTHERN ROCKIES. 7 DAY POWDER FORECAST
Welcome to the last day of March. Happy Easter weekend everyone!
Very low snow levels will bring powder to the central Washington Cascades Sunday/Monday while the Rockies see some modest amounts favoring Montana and Wyoming . Storm ski in Wyoming or Montana Monday followed by some fresh in Colorado for Tuesday morning, The extended period looks better beginning in April 7-9 time period.
Short Term Forecast
For those of you that were lucky to score the opening of the Imperial lift at Breckenridge on Friday, you scored 12 plus inches of medium density pow that took me down Whales Tail top to bottom for the rope drop. Any powder late March and April is a bonus. Colorado benefits from some very high summits so even with the sun out yesterday morning conditions were surprisingly very good.
Below: My track down the lower section of Whales Tail (Skiers left of the named run).
The next 2-5 days will feature low pressure moving ashore in the Cascades bringing a chase worthy dump to the central Cascades Sunday/Monday in Washington. Sunday features 2-5 inches with a cooling trend (Snow levels plummet to 500-1,000 feet). Moderate snow continues with a convergence zone Sunday PM bringing another 2-6 inches for Monday morning (Wide spread of snow in the forecast due to the wildcard of a convergence zone of cold air orographics). I suspect 1st chair Monday will be decent especially at Stevens Pass or resorts just south towards Alpental. Last chair Sunday may also be decent. Snow will be falling in the northern and southern Cascades with lower amounts.
In the Rockies my top 3 spots are Red Lodge Mountain Montana, Higher elevations of the Tetons, and perhaps Bridger or Big Sky for Monday. High elevation light snow will be falling Saturday above 8500 feet in the Tetons Saturday. Its possible that 3-6 inches accumulate at the summits by early Sunday morning (Cream up top could be fun). Light rain is likely at the bases with snow mixed at times in the overnight hours Saturday (Targhee may see more low elevation snow with higher base area). Don’t expect much snow at lower elevations Sunday morning. A break on Sunday transitions to a more moisture Sunday night into Monday. Temps are generally warm through Sunday when cooler air transitions light rain at the bases of Big Sky to all snow by Monday morning. Moderate snow is likely late Sunday night and Monday with a wide area of 4-8 inches for Montana. Its possible the summit of Big Sky or Bridger score higher amounts (5-10) with Red Mountain Lodge in the 7-12 inch zone. 10-16 inches may fall just west of Red Mountain Lodge but it’s a wildcard (perhaps more falls east). I also don’t have direct chase experience in that area so could be totally wrong. Regardless, expect moderate powder for Monday morning in many areas of Montana with light snow adding to these numbers before tapering mid or late day.
Below: Monday morning moisture focussing on Montana and Wyoming. Utah grabs snow on Monday as moisture works it’s way south into the Wasatch (1-3).
Below: Cold front from northern Montana edging into southern areas of the State by 5AM Monday morning. The Tetons are still in the warm sector but will cool in the later periods Monday. Southern Montana is cool enough for snow to be falling at or near most bases Monday. Stay high for the best quality.
In Colorado moisture moves in on Monday night with the passage of a cold front. Currently, models depict snow for the central and northern mountains. I suspect Tuesday will deliver 4-6 inches to many mountain locations for 1st chair. Its not a major system but clearly many areas will see some freshies including Aspen, Eagle County, Summit, and areas north to Steamboat. Even the northern San Juan mountains will get some light action.
Below: wide area of 3-6 inches (Higher amounts possible) over many areas of Colorado including the northern San Juan range. Most snow will fall Monday night into Tuesday morning.
There should be a good break in the action mid week before moisture returns to the Pacific Northwest late next week (Warm temps). Some moisture late next week will be filtering over the northern Rockies. Better systems are possible beginning April 7-9 timeframe for many areas of the Rockies and perhaps the Sierra. Those time periods are on my long term watch list.
Below: Long term ensembles per the GFS models for April 8th (Models show a general trend for low pressure but its too early to predict any details).
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