UPDATE: Yesterdays forecast is on track. Chases can include the San Juan Range, specifically Southern Colorado for Friday (Storm ski) and additional accumulations into Saturday morning. The Good: Decent moisture tap from the Baja, 8-14 inches at the summits. The Bad: Ski areas might only report modest amounts early Friday with the bulk falling during the day. 2-5 inch refresh is possible Friday night. Warm temps will want you to dial in your surf lessons (Bring the fatties). Where: Most of the southern San Juan Range with higher amounts possible just north of Durango, perhaps Silverton. Wolf is a solid contender also. Taos is a moderate wildcard for Saturday (3-7 up high).
The Tetons have consistently been spotlighted on model runs for Saturday night into Sunday. I have high confidence of 5-11 inches at the summits by mid Sunday morning. The Good: Overnight dump. The Bad: Temps are warm so quality will be lacking at lower elevations (Rain/snow mix in the Valley). Upper elevations are likely to surf deep. Where: JHMR gets more snow in our analysis but Targhee might offer better quality (Higher base elevation). Colder air exists north of Wyoming so it's possible that Big Sky pull of a higher quality surprise, albeit lighter amounts.
Finally, very high confidence in the Sierra for Sunday-Tuesday. All models are onboard with 2-3 feet at the summits of most of the Tahoe Basin, 20-28 inches for Mammoth and 9-14 inches at Lake level. Strong winds preceding the Cold front due late Saturday may keep upper lifts closed at some wind prone areas (Snowing by 10 AM). Heavier snow falls late Saturday through Sunday (Storm Ski) with moderate snow falling Monday/Tuesday (Refresh likely both days albeit lighter). The Good: Decent Temps (Not blower cold but medium), overnight snow that continues into Sunday, Decent opening depths, lingers for a few days. The Bad: Windy on Saturday, with slightly less on Sunday (Upper lifts may stay closed at some resorts). Not sure on how conditions are currently with a lack of snow this season, especially at lower elevations. Might be slow to open terrain at some resorts. Monday or Tuesday may offer the best quality.
The Announcement section below has a trip report from North Cascade Heli Skiing in Washington State with my pictures just below this post
Below: Scenery is spectacular in the North Cascades. Photo: Powderchaser Steve
Below: Heli Terrain kept snow well preserved at high elevations and north facing aspects.
Below: Look for the Heli
TRIP REPORT FROM NORTH CASCADE HELI SKIING IN WASHINGTON STATE
Checked out North Cascade Heli Skiing in north/central Washington last Monday. This is an operation that operates 2.5 hours North of Wenatchee (Airport) or 5 hours from Seattle in the remote Mazama Valley (East Cascades roughly on the same horizontal plane as Mount Baker. I will be honest on my evaluation.
Scenery: 10/10- This terrain reminded me of the Alps, jagged peaks, feels like another world. Don't judge the scenery by your starting point in Mazama which is very pretty additionally (Pine Forest- Streams).
Operational organization- Safety- Vibe: 10/10 Chill atmosphere, cozy wood cabin office (Office dogs a bonus), Good safety briefings, Beacon Training, not rushed, professional Guides.
Heli Terrain: 9/10 Hard to judge due to the fact I have only experienced Mica in Canada (Tight Trees, low angle). The terrain we rode at North Cascade Heli was wide open with a combination of ver steep areas (Hop turns) and mid 30-35 degree long runs. It had not snowed for several days (Had 11-14 previously). Higher elevation riding (Mostly above 7,000) kept the snow surprisingly light and high quality. Of the 7 runs only 2 had evidence of sun baking. I would rate this highly due to length of runs, scenery and anyone with solid black run experience at a resort can easily handle.
For me, the entire experience of the small group experience (4 per guide), scenery and well preserved snow exceeded my expectations in every way. I would return to this operation in the future. Book in advance as they tend to fill up for the majority of the season. Some spots remain open next week.