WHO GETS THE WHITE CHRISTMAS? SNOW CONTINUES IN THE ROCKIES
TRIP REPORT: We chased with huge rewards per my forecast to the Pacific Northwest last week. We started at Schweitzer Resort in Northern Idaho (23 inches in the past 3 days) and chased to both Stevens Resort and Crystal through Yesterday. As Powderchasers predicted winds at Crystal kept the upper mountain closed on Tuesday so Wednesday was pure $$ with 12-18 inches of dense snow topped with near blower that fell into the morning hours. “My top to bottom run on Exterminator with perhaps 1-2 tracks in front of me may have been my single best run of the season” (How many times have we claimed best run of my life only to repeat it again with distant memories of the White room from a week ago)? Our only regrets are not chasing back to Schweitzer this morning with new terrain opening in the backside and several chairlifts that did not spin yesterday. Also, Lookout Mountain on the ID/MT border logged 27 inches in the past 2 days.
Stevens Pass was buried on day 2 of the chase – Below- Photo- Powderchaser Steve
The Wasatch finally got some action last night (6 inches at Alta) with 4-8 inches in our original forecast. That system is spinning over SW Colorado currently (2 inches at Wolf Creek) and hammering spots near in the La Sal mountain range west of most ski areas. Snow will increase over the central and northern mountains of Colorado this afternoon with a wind shift to the West and Northwest. Most mountain locations will grab 3-5 inches by Friday morning so 1st chair at many resorts may be decent along I-70. Its possible higher amounts will be found towards Aspen (Wildcard) or from Beaver Creek towards Powderhorn (Western ranges of the corridor).
Below: Snow is falling over Arches National Park in southern Utah this morning.
The Friday to Sunday time period brings lots of activity back to the northern Rockies. Consider chases to southern Montana Friday (Red Lodge looks the heaviest) with 4-7 inches likely at many resorts likely by last chair. That system zips through Wyoming with 4-8 inches likely for the Tetons late Friday into Saturday (Targhee and JHMR). The GFS model has more snow near Jackson where the the Euro shows heavier snow south of Alpine (9-11). Snow returns Friday night for the Wasatch with 3-7 inches likely by late Saturday. Its possible that this system land higher amounts in the north Wasatch or perhaps spots near Beaver Mountain or the Idaho border. Powder Mountain can sometimes do well with NW flow. Park City will add to the 2-4 inches it received from last night. Perhaps the northern Wasatch out performs where spots near Alta come in lower (Gamble)? I would chase north or follow the webcams Friday night.
The weekend will bring another 2-5 inches of powder to most mountain locations in northern Colorado under NW flow. Steamboat may see the higher totals from this system. It’s fairly moisture starved (Light) but has good NW flow and cold air (Some surprises are possible). Saturday storm skiing is likely so last chair at may resorts in Colorado may be your best option (Perhaps low or mid boot fluff). The Front Range may also sneak out some powder especially spots north of I-70 near Rocky Mountain National Park (Winds near the front range may turn North or NE).
The Good: The Rockies stay cold with several periods of light to moderate snow over the next few days. This will keep conditions fresh in many areas. The Bad: No single overnight Powder Alerts
Below: Total snowfall for the West through Saturday night (Adds up over Utah, Wyoming, Colorado). Today’s snowfall is included in the totals.
Another system will enter the Pacific Northwest late this weekend. That should land some moderate snow to many areas before shifting over the northern Rockies for Christmas Eve and day. It’s likely that Santa will be sledding some fresh snow over north- central Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado as we approach Xmas Eve. He may even be able to land some “Faceshots” in the Tetons on Sunday or Monday. Utah is a wildcard as most moisture may stay north (That can change). Colorado may get some white teases on Christmas Day as light or moderate snow drops down from the north.
Early January should continue a trend for possible systems entering the northern Rockies. While there is no indication of a high pressure ridge, there does not appear to be a significant signal for large storms to move in from the Pacific. It’s possible more snow is focused in the northern or central Rockies as we move into the first week of January.
Forecaster: Powderchaser Steve
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