CREAM CHEESE TOPPED WITH MEDIUM DENSITY FROSTING
Summary 4/7/2017 0700 mst
I just checked the automated snow telemetry at Squaw at 8,000 feet and it appears that 9 inches has already fallen since the lifts closed yesterday (Temps are 26 degrees with strong winds). Mammoth is reporting 15-20 inches! The storm is just beginning with the warm side on the Sierra today and cold side tomorrow. I am still holding my gut at 2-3 feet for the northern Sierra and higher amounts as you work your way south towards Mammoth (Higher elevations- 3-5 feet). Warm air and decent amounts of liquid precipitation will move east over the Rockies Saturday with a cold front due late.
Short Term Forecast
Snow intensity will increase from north to south over the Sierra today as well as winds! Significant cream densities today will pile up over 7500 feet. Some rain/snow mix is possible at the bases however with the intensity of the precipitation would not be surprised to see some wet snow building at lower elevations. There appears to be a brief reprieve of winds later today so its possible that some lifts that are on wind hold pop after 1PM (These are just guesses so check your ski area websites to see whats open). You will be skiing deep dream cream.
Wet snow continues tonight before colder air brings snow levels to lake level after midnight. The big question is how much “quality” pow will fall once the cold front passes? That is often in the cards for my chase decisions. I suspect 5-10 inches of decent quality (On top of the smooth cream from today and early evening) for lift openings Saturday. The other card for chase decisions is winds and what will open? I suspect delays will happen at resorts with avalanche terrain but remain optimistic for winds to decrease during the day. Therefore, have patience and your dream may come true! Resorts along the Sierra Crest (Highest elevations) will see 2-3 feet of snow through Saturday. Models show higher amounts possible as you head south especially over the summit of Mammoth (3-5 feet). Models show snow decreasing early Saturday morning only to increase again with a final wave due by mid morning Saturday over northern areas (Another 3-5 inches of mid density). “Expect 6-15 inches of decent quality pow for your first turns Saturday morning on top of 12-18 inches of cream”
Below: Total snowfall through Saturday morning!
The rest of the West?
The first piece of energy moves from CA today through Idaho and Wyoming late tonight through Saturday. The Wasatch grabs moisture on Saturday. Snow levels in all areas will be high so rain is likely below 7500 feet. I estimate 5-10 inches of wet snow for the upper elevations of the Tetons by mid day Saturday (Rain or mixed precipitation at the bases). The Wasatch could fall short early Saturday but pick up by last chair above 8,000 feet (4-8 -Wet snow). Cold air moves over Idaho late Saturday increasing snowfall (Northern Sawtooths and central mountains) through Sunday. Cold air and westerly flow picks up over the Tetons (Good for Targhee and Jackson) late Saturday evening. Expect another 4-7 inches of decent quality to fall for first chairs Sunday (Jackson’s last official day). Targhee could also fare well under Westerly flow (NW is ideal). Southern MT is in the mix especially near Red Lodge?
The Wasatch shows a decent fetch of medium density snow (Most likely favors the upper reaches of the Cottonwoods) late Saturday into early Sunday (5-10). Snow may quickly taper off in Utah where the Tetons stay in a more showery pattern (light snow continuing).
Below: Total snowfall through Sunday morning in southern MT, Wyoming and central
Colorado gets teased late Saturday with light snow over 8500 feet in the north San Juan’s under SW flow. It’s not impressive but could make it up to I-70 in the western sections of Eagle County or even Steamboat (Light). NW or West flow kick in late Saturday with an uptick of moisture from Steamboat down to perhaps I-70. Most moisture is confined to the northern areas of the State. Nothing looks all that impressive on models. Caveat: Cold air and NW flow can create snowfall that is not depicted well on models. I am slightly optimistic for this to happen for first chairs somewhere on Sunday morning along or north of I-70.
Pacific Northwest: It’s a good time to be hunkered down here! Snow above 4,000-4800 feet today through Sunday will bring several 4-7 inch powder days. Lowering snow levels this weekend could deliver even better quality. Baker seems favored this week (North) perhaps extending south to Stevens.
The Northwest gets a break early next week followed by more snow mid week. The Sierra might reap another decent storm by Wednesday or Thursday next week (7500-8,000 foot snow levels). The Rockies could get the leftovers by late week.
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