POWDER ALERT- SIERRA, IDAHO, UTAH, NEVADA, WYOMING WILDCARD
Summary. 1/1/2018 AM
Moderate snow is falling over the northern Sierra currently that will enhance during Thursday-Friday. Significant snow is still on my radar for central and southern Idaho where 2 feet is likely for Sun Valley and points into the Sawtooth’s. Action pushes into the Tetons and Northern Utah ranges Friday before heading south over Salt Lake Saturday late AM. Colorado will see snow on Sunday.
Short Term Forecast
Chases are going to be tricky this week with strong winds over California that will keep upper mountains buttoned up at times. Snow is falling at most northern resorts this morning so choose wisely based on open terrain and elevation. Homewood, and Heavenly offer good trees with lower angle and perhaps better chances of variety and lifts? The winds will increase this afternoon at most resorts in Northern California so its still possible upper mountains will still be open this morning. Significant snow is on tap (2-4 feet) through Saturday. Winds diminish slightly Friday late AM so it’s possible that lifts that are closed Thursday open later Friday (Still gusty 40-50 versus 80-100 late Friday). Expect wind drifted snow at many locations. There may be a brief break up north in the Sierra Friday morning in snowfall before it increases again PM into Saturday. The southern Sierra may not see much of a break and will most likely nab the highest totals (5 feet at the summits of Mammoth) by Saturday night. If it were me chasing this week, I would aim for the break on Friday or simply wait until Saturday/Sunday when terrain opens at many resorts.
Crystal is reporting 10-13 inches last night so hopefully if your in the Cascades you chased this morning. Baker had 10-16 inches.
I have mentioned Sun Valley on my last 3 posts. It’s currently snowing with wind direction and moisture optimal (South) where you can expect 11-25 inches (Base to summit) by late Friday. Best time to ride will be late Thursday or early Friday. Its not often that Sun Valley (One of my favorite mountains) gets double digits in 24 hours.
The Tetons see light snow Thursday night increasing Friday. Expect the best powder to be during the day Friday as 4 inches on the morning report turns into 8 by 4PM (Split night and day pow). Jackson Hole is favored over Targhee with SW flow.
The Wasatch is tricky. Models are still disagreeing on timing and location of the heaviest snow. Its going to take several days for this system creep south. The GFS and EURO are still at odds. The most likely scenario is moderate snowfall in the northern tip of Utah (Beaver Mountain) Friday possibly extending to Snowbasin (Less likely). Last chair Friday may offer some fresh in northern ranges. Colder air moves into the Salt Lake Valley mid morning Saturday. It’s possible the northern Wasatch reports moderate snow Saturday morning (6-10) and southern areas (Cottonwoods) report much less. Heavy snow will be falling in all areas by mid morning Saturday/Sunday. Consider northern resorts late Friday and early Saturday and chase south by noon Saturday. It’s even possible that Park City ends up on the North/South line bringing some surprises on Saturday AM (Less likely).
Amounts in the Wasatch will range from 12-20 inches in the northern Wasatch (Snowbasin, Powder-Wildcard, Beaver Mountain, Cherry Creek) through Saturday evening. Amounts further south are more of a mystery. I would expect 9-15 inches in the Cottonwoods by late Saturday night (Ride late Saturday and early Sunday) and 6-12 inches in the Park City area. The GFS brings higher amounts further South where the Euro still favors the north. My next update hopefully narrows the odds. Someone is going to nab 2 feet but my gut tells me it’s up north.
Snow moves into Colorado Saturday night/Sunday favoring western or northern resorts. Steamboat might score advisory levels by late Sunday (4-8) Powderhorn is on the chase list. Other resorts east or south are wildcards at this point. I think most resorts pick up 3-6 inches along I-70 with isolated 5-10 inches with favored west or NW flow. Models are not picking up high amounts, however good West and NW winds should offer surprises for Beaver Creek, Steamboat, and perhaps Vail Pass. Breckenridge frequently scores when the models show otherwise. More on Colorado in the next post when the models hopefully depict higher snow totals.
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