Powder Alert

POWDER ALERT! SIERRA, CASCADES, WASATCH, CENTRAL IDAHO, TETONS- COLORADO ON WATCH

April 4, 2017, 9PM UPDATED 

Summary

There is a ton of weather buzz in the chase cave tonight! First, Colorado just got nailed over parts of Summit County where 14-16 inches fell during the day! I chased to Beaver Creek (4-5 on the cams) and found 8-9 inches of blower at the summits! It may be the first time I have ever resort skied POW with completely empty trails (Ghost Town USA). From Beaver Creek I chased to Breckenridge for another 7-10 inches of fresh pow at upper elevations and currently at 18 inches (Since 6AM). Lower elevations at both resorts had much less snow. Thank You Mountain Nomads Powder Shuttle for alerting me (They are based in Breck and can chase you to the pow). Currently it’s dumping in Boulder and cameras show snow over Eldora with not much moisture showing up on the Avalanche SWE. Tomorrow will see deep leftovers at many resorts. The long term forecast brings significant moisture into the West with warm air followed by colder temperatures late in the weekend. Snow is currently winding down in Colorado.

FORECAST:

Snow showers are diminishing over most of the central and northern mountains of Colorado.  Another 1-2 inches is possible at many resorts West of the Divide and perhaps 3-5 inches in southern mountains.  It’s still snowing moderately along I-25 south of Denver along the spine of the Front Range Mountains under North winds.  Most of the snow to the south will be confined to eastern areas of the mountains. Summit County picked up another 5-7 inches since 3PM. Taos is grabbing light snow currently (3-4 on the snow report this morning) with models showing light or moderate amounts at best overnight (Most action is just north or east).

Chases this week?  The Cascades will grab light snow or rain at the bases this week with perhaps as much as 11-14 inches at the summits over 5500 feet through Thursday near Mount Baker. Central and southern areas will see 5-10 inches at the summits.  Moderate snow during the day Wednesday (Warm) will taper PM only to return Thursday AM (Slightly colder but still a mixed bag at lower elevations).  It might be chase worthy Thursday at upper elevations of the north or central Cascades. A much colder system enters the Cascades this weekend with moderate snowfall likely that may continue into next week (Stay tuned).

Significant system is aimed at the Sierra beginning late Thursday night. Strong winds and relatively high snow levels (7-8,000) bring heavy wet snow to all mid mountains and upper peaks (8-14). Heavy wet snow continues Friday night (Slush at upper elevation roads) near the Lake).

A cold front will move in Saturday (Models are flip flopping timing).  I suspect by 7-8 AM Snow densities will rapidly decrease with another 5-11 inches (On top of 2-3 feet of wet cream) of decent quality by noon (Winds may continue to be an issue but should decrease by Saturday afternoon).  Snow may decrease behind the cold front late Saturday morning in the north Sierra but should continue in the southern zones (Mammoth).  Totals?  I currently hold to my original forecast of 3-5 feet over Mammoth and perhaps 2-3 feet for the northern Sierra.  Higher amounts are possible along the Sierra Crest!  Is it worth a chase? Many caveats including wet snow early in the storm, strong winds Friday/early Saturday so its a gamble in my eyes (Its legal on the Nevada side).

Below: Friday morning surge of moisture over the Sierra working from north to south!

Moisture takes aim at Idaho under SW flow (Warm temperatures) as early as Friday (Sun Valley might reap rewards at the peaks).  Heavy snow will also begin over the Tetons and northern Wasatch of Utah late Friday into Saturday (Warm temperatures).  Expect 5-11 inches for upper elevations of northern Utah (Above 8,000) and similar or higher amounts for the Tetons (Mid or upper mountain only).  Cold air moves into Idaho Saturday (Will increase snowfall and quality with westerly winds in central and southern zones). That cold front gets to the Wasatch and Tetons late Saturday into Sunday. Snow qualities will improve for Sunday morning with moderate additional amounts likely.  Cold Westerly flow continues Sunday/Monday with snow showers continuing (May be highest over the Tetons). Bottom Line: The heaviest moisture will be Friday/Saturday however qualities are improving Sunday/Monday (Frosting).  My picks would be late Saturday or early Sunday (Winds may keep upper lifts on hold Saturday). Monday could still be good at JHMR (Employees only) or Grand Targhee.

Colorado grabs a good dose of moisture Saturday night into Sunday under SW flow.  This may favor the San Juans however models show the system edging north perhaps near Gunnison.  Its going to be wet snow but could be heavy at times in some areas. NW flow kicks in Sunday late AM into Monday which will favor the northern and sections of the central Colorado mountains with light or moderate good density snow.   Its too far out to speculate amounts in Colorado. My early guess is central and southern Colorado may fare best Saturday night where the north plays into the mix Sunday and Monday.

Below: Total snowfall for the Sierra through Saturday- Note: 20-30 inches for the north and perhaps 30-50 inches in the highest elevations of the southern Sierra. Much less at lower elevations!

Extended Forecast

The Pacific Northwest will stay on our radar early next week with additional systems slated to arrive. These may contain some cold air!  This may impact the northern Rockies early next week.  The Ensembles show a trend for some drier weather mid next week where the operational models show another system for the Pacific Northwest.  Below: Ensembles for Monday next week.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
POWDER ALERT! SIERRA, CASCADES, WASATCH, CENTRAL IDAHO, TETONS- COLORADO ON WATCH, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Comments

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  1. This is “impossible”, because it doesn’t “Snow” anymore, much less in May/Spring !

    Snow Fall “vanished” decades ago with the increase of Man-made-Global-Warming so this is nothing but “Flat-Earther” propaganda !!

    THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED !!!

    The Arctic Sea Ice is long gone, the Greenland Ice Glacier’s have melted, Antarctic Ice is hanging on by a thread and the U.S./European Ski Resorts closed long ago, in fact, todays Children have no idea what Snow is much less Snow Fall !!!

    In fact, the University of Colorado leads the way in debunking this kind of Propaganda so this report only “proves” how dysfunctional (Illiterate) the average American is ???

    Once again…

    THE SCIENCE IS [ SETTLED ] and it’s not a matter of if but when this kind of “Speech” will finally be silenced (Impeached)!

    This has been brought to you by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) @ the University of Colorado

  2. Heading to Park City Feb 15th-22nd .. will be doing a couple of backcountry days earning my turns in the cottonwoods but mostly at the resorts with the fam. Been seeing mixed reports of rain during that time period. What do you think? Thanks!

    • Your getting the goods to some extent. Small system due for the 16th and another better shot of moisture 19th through the 20th! These systems wont be real cold but “Cold enough” for all snow on the mountains. Colder air moves in late on the 20th into the 21st with low land snow near SLC (Tail end of the storm). If you post on Powderchasers forums we can help you further. Please feed our powder bank on the website! PCS

  3. Steve, do you know of a Canada specific Powderchaser type website? With this warmer weather hovering over the entire US I am sure that some of these more northern (US) storms have to be bleeding over into British Columbia, with more ideal colder temperatures. Any chance you can mention the Powder Highway mountains when the rest of the US is getting less desirable “cream cheese”?

    • Not really. I work for Opensnow.com as well (THe Chase) and believe there is a section for Whistler. It will cool down this weekend. Can you post on the forums on the homepage and I can respond with more details. Canada is cooler but it’s not blower.

  4. We were down in Calfornia late last week and into the weekend. After getting shut out by wind closers as you predicted, we packed up and moved to SLC. Yesterday at Snowbird was awesome! Today should be even better if they’re able to run the tram. Anyhow, I’ve been keeping an eye on NOAA’s forecast for Baker and it looks insane. Are you guys still up that way? Do you think there is any chance they’ll actually be opertaing lifts by tomorrow, or even this weekend?

    • It’s still a ways out. The 10th looks very good for the Tetons, sierra, sun valley (deep friday Perhaps Saturday). Colorado or utah Saturday or Sunday but lower confidence due to 7 days out. Please donate on our homepage to feed our powder jar

      • Wednesday looks good for Tuesday night snow as well
        As Monday night. Thursday not as good. Late week looks Good Friday to Saturday next week but Teton’s and sun valley might be better. Please donate on powderchasers if possible or did you already? We provide custom chase plans for any donations of $50 or more being a not for profit site currently. PCS

  5. I hope it’s ok to share this story here since your recent Powder Alerts have featured Squaw Valley/Sierras and the huge dumps the last 2 to 3 weeks. I thought it was appropriate to honor Joe Zuiches from Squaw Valley who passed away this morning during avalanche control activities. Joe was a ski patrolman/powder chaser that looked after all of us in some way from before first tram to post closing while sharing his love of snow that we all seek. Please remember that the Ski Patrol everywhere is a gift that keeps giving..

    http://mynews4.com/news/local/squaw-valley-ski-patoller-dies-in-avalanche-resort-closed

    • I agree and planned to do it! perhaps I include it in a future post as terrible tragedy like that we will never forget! Stay tuned and we will write something up. PCS

  6. Powderchaser Steve.. You nailed it.. I was there Thurs for the opening of KT-22 too.. Untouched but heavy.. Not much open that day typical Squaw recently. Seems they are worried about opening lifts even with sub 20mph winds because of the different high temps/ layers of snow. But that shouldn’t affect most of their lifts. They are overwhelmed again with now 5 feet in last 4 days. Jackson has been my home hill for last 35 yrs and have skied Sierras for 45 yrs but I still prefer 0 degrees and less light fluff(10″-16″) than huge 30 degrees dump of Sierra Cement. Not all pow is created equal but any pow is better than groomers.. Love moguls.. No disrespect to snowcat crews.. That’s why we chase!! A fun time had by all.

    • WE agree 100%. I was just noticing that. I am going to issue a special post on FB related to this. My expectation is 9-13 inches mainly Sunday PM through mid morning Monday. Powderchaser Steve

      • right on man! Newbie to your site but I like the forecast layout and the guest/employee interaction. Once the weather pattern changes I would love some updates on Montana weather (other than big sky), most sites give the 406 very little attention.
        Powder gas $ coming your way! Cheers & keep up the good work!

  7. Last year’s plan turned into this year’s trip! Wifey and I are headed to Bozeman / Bridger Bowl Tuesday January 24 through Saturday January 28; any good news for some dumps there?

    • Darn! Darn! The ridge settles in next week for the entire West so other than great skiing at those resorts, and atmosphere I cant put waist deep on your skis. I wish I had the power to zip a foot of pow your way. Hopefully the models have it wrong but I am not optimistic. Try some new activities in MT? Fat biking? Dog Sledding? enjoy the terrain regardless of pow?

      PCS

  8. I’m heading out to Big Sky also for Super Bowl week and hoping to see some of these big dumps head their way. How’s it looking for Southern Montana?

    • See my response below to another question I just answered on Big Sky. Not good for the next 14 days except 6 inches late this week. beyond the 14 day period anything can change so lets hope that it shifts back after the 1st week of February.

      We work on donations if you need custom forecasts or feel like throwing the powder gas our way. PCS

  9. What’s up with Big Sky this year? When will the jet stream rise? I am going for Mardi Gras and conditions aren’t all too good. Hoping for the best though.

    • They had such a good start! Big Sky has lots to offer even if you don’t get the POW. You wont’ remember anything after Mardi Gras anyway right? I don’t see any big dumps in the west after this next cycle that will last 7 days but only skim Big Sky with up to 6 inches expected late this week. Have fun in MT and let us know if you need a custom forecast. We work on donations. Thanks

    • High pressure starts on the 25th and may last for at least a week that we can see. That might not fare well for you but lets hope it looks more optimistic for the longer range. I see high pressure until at least February 2nd currently which is as far as the ensembles show currently.

    • I am going to look more closely on Friday! My take at this point is to stay away from areas that may get several feet of snow including Mammoth due to not opening upper terrain. Smaller resorts may offer more opportunity to mitigate AVY dangers like Homewood, Alpine Meadows or perhaps even the KT 22 chair at Squaw (Lower mountain but great terrain if open). I am debating a chase to the Tetons this Sunday night as 2-3 feet is likely there and resorts there especially Grand Targhee are more likely to open. More later! Hope that helps.

  10. I have pesos in Mammoth Lakes for Sunday Monday–Looks like RAIN on all forecasts for Sunday! Think I should I move to Monday Tuesday?

    • Just saw this! Powder is great for wide open terrain with little or no crowds. A bit low angle when compared to other resorts. The cat skiing is much better (around $20 per run) but the runs are short. Great place just depends what you are looking for.

  11. “My confidence is extremely high for the Oregon Cascades (Thursday/Friday), Tetons of Wyoming (Get your snorkels out), Central Idaho (Sun Valley, Brundage)…”

    Why you be dissin on Bogus Basin? If your confidence is high for Brundage then it should be equally as high for Bogus. They open for the season on Sat, just like Brundage. Both have only announced beginner lift openings so far but betting that gets stepped up tomorrow once the dumpage is in full swing.

    Loving La Nina!

    • I don’t know Bogus Basin as an area I have not explored. I would never diss any resort as rarely there is pessimisim. All resorts with new snow are good in my books 🙂 Tell me more about Bogus.

      • Most riders don’t know Bogus and we like it that way. In short… best terrain in southern Idaho, very affordable lift passes, conveniently close to Boise. Biggest shortcoming is snow amounts and the relatively low elevation.

        Tell ya what, next time you’re making a chase this way hit me with an email and I’ll give you a personal tour of our gem.

  12. Best place to hit Dec 5th to get some powder? Was thinking the Oregon Cascades (Mount Hood, Timberline) any suggestions. Going to ride Dec 4 to 6 so looking for best accumulation on Sunday Dec 4th to hit Monday and Tuesday.

    • Hey BHD, where are you chasing from? I think you might be making the right call given the amount of base that Mt. Hood has. Could be great on Monday considering it would be a Monday without the weekend warriors a lot of new snow, and really cold temperatures. Possibly new terrain openings, which could mean deepness, poor snow coverage, or both. These are the lowest temps I have ever seen forecasted for Oregon. Grand Targhee Resort in Driggs, Idaho an hour from Jackson could be real deep by Monday morning as well. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort still needs more base given it is a steeper mountain than Grand Targhee. Is there something more appealing with Timberline compared to Mt. Hood Meadows this time of year? I have seen some great powder footage from Mt. Hood Meadows this season.

    • Initially 8000 feet under SW flow (Snowing pretty well on Monday in many areas up high). The snow level drops Monday night and Tuesday to 5500 however moisture is weaning. Total snow now for the Cottonwoods just tweaked higher to 6-10 inches in our books.

  13. Damn!! I totally planned an itinerary around this post from April 6-10. Shame on me for not connecting the dots! Thank goodness I didn’t prepay for the Hotel

    We’re here in Santa Barbara, CA and ready to take off from Apr 6-10….PC what might you suggest for where we could reroute for first time Powder seekers. I’ve never experienced the pow-goods yet, and was stoked to find your alerts/site here. Utmost goal for this trip, powder and being thick in the storm of it.

    Mammoth? Snowbird? Whistler? Snowmass/Aspen/Vail/Breckenridge?

    • DARN. So sorry about that. The next snow we see is monday-Wednesday over the Cascades. Snow levels will be above the base levels but lower to the bases late Tuesday. Might see a foot of wet snow on the upper peaks. After that I don’t see much until next weekend when I think you want to travel? Snow returns from the south pushing into the Sierra with 9,000 foot snow levels (Rain at the base). That storm pushes over the southern mountains of Colorado by next weekend as well (Sat or Sun). Warm air will bring high density snow but with higher elevations might score some powder. Wolf Creek if they are still open would be an early guess right now (High elevation). As we get closer please repost to me and I can narrow it down for you.

  14. So I am either super stoked or this April Fool’s cuts a little too deep…

    For the sake of my mind, please tell me if this an April Fool’s… If it is, then it doesn’t hurt to ask. If it isn’t, and we don’t go, then that would be terrible.

  15. Looking to dodge out of work- ?Where to go next Wednesday (27th)through Friday/Saturday? Utah, CO or elsewhere? Just got back from CO and had great POW.

  16. Hey guys,

    excited about the storms rolling in the west!!

    What is your opinion about the 2 storms this coming to the Sierra in the next days, do you think Mammoth and Tahoe will have similar amounts or Tahoe will do much better?

    Thanks a lot!!!

  17. Last posting. We have a one bedroom villa at Westgate Park City resort and Spa for November 29 – December 6th $400 for the week. Going rate is $1600 for the week. feel free to email me if you are interested. Should be awesome snow in Alta, Bird and Solitude

    chris@dubia.me

  18. Still not takers for our place at the Westgate Park City resort and Spa for November 29 – December 6th. Will lower the price to $400. Conditions should be good in the Park City area and great in Alta and Snowbird area. South facing aspects look to favor deeper.

  19. Anyone who is interested – have a 1 bedroom villa at the Westgate Park City resort and Spa for November 29 – December 6th. Snow should still be fantastic still. Offering it for $500 – goes for $1600.

    Feel free to email me if you’re interested. chrisatdubiadotme

  20. Photo of base area with snow on picnic tables is not Alpental, it’s SILVER FIR, (formerly Summit East, formerly Pacwest). Alpental is to the north and about 2500 vertical feet higher.

  21. Steve,

    Thoughts on Alta – Snowbird for March 21 – 30. Anything good on the horizon? Looking at the long term Euro and it shows a swath of moisture..Not sure though.

    • I am really liking the evening of the 24th and daytime 25th. Cold front and Westerly flow= good chance of decent snow. Most likely will be good since I am not in town on the 25th (Always happens when I am out of pocket).

  22. Steve,

    Taos is looking super deep for this weekend. I am chasing with a buddy Saturday (2/25) to Tuesday (3/3). We rented a 2 bedroom condo on the mountain so if your powder chasing adventures take you to Taos please know you have a place to crash at our pad (let me know and I can email you details).

    By the way I met you on the lift line at Blue Sky Basin earlier this season (right before Christmas). I knew I was in the right place when you showed up and the lift opened shortly thereafter!

    • I might end up there. Traveling with a buddy. Can you accommodate us tonight? Things look good for the next 3 days. I need to be slightly concerned with moisture streaming north and further west on Sunday? Wolf creek will get the deepest however Taos would be very good

      • We can’t check in till Saturday so you guys are more than welcome starting then. We are flying in this evening and staying at a motel in taos town tonight

    • CB can do well with SW flow. If the moisture gets that far north it will be very good. My confidence is 60% for 5-10 inches. Wolf and Durango will do better with southern influence. CB can sometimes do better than Telluride under SW flow. Not sure why Telluride did so good on the last storm! I would watch that POW Cam and make last minute chases.

  23. Hey Steve, I have a group of three guys with me and we’re willing to travel anywhere in the country for the deepest driest powder we can find this weekend. Can you give me your top three resorts in order. You’ll be our hero. From what I can gather I’m guessing its Colorado somewhere but I’d love you’re best pics.

    • Southern storm with SW flow pushes up to the Wasatch this weekend. Mountains in the San Juan’s are favored. However currently I am confident in moderate amounts in the Wasatch as well!

    • Sorry we left NM out since the bulk of the near term action is in Colorado. YES, NM will see snow. Heaviest will be in the NE third of the State. Santa Fe might see more? Taos gets snow primarily Sunday into Monday. Amounts could be respectable but not willing to guess just yet. Monday will be your best day to get 1st chair.

    • Good! Snow especially Friday night and then again Saturday afternoon/Sunday however by then most moisture is to the East. I think Saturday might be the best of the bunch?

  24. Will this most recent movement over the next 3-4 days bring anything but rain to PC area? I know better snow in LC canyon, but wondering even how they will fair with this front due to high temps. Any guess?

  25. Hi – do you have any insigh on how Snowbird / Alta will make out from the 13th-17th of Feb? I’m reading there will be a ridge moving in which will keep out all storms. Would appreciate your insight. Thanks!

    • Late response. Tough winter! Snow this weekend for sure but amounts will be light. Temps look cool for several days. Heavier storm likely in the 7 day extended forecast.

  26. any idea on when this crazy ridge is going to break down? any good news for northern CO…i will be at breckenridge from feb 11-18…i am being selfish, and just want some good cold snow. dont need 1000 inches. please give me some good news

  27. We mention the Beaver often this year. In fact mentioned on my last post today and again last week. I have not been there but heard it is great.

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