Significant storm shaping up for many ski areas of New England Friday/Saturday. BC and the PNW grab light to moderate snow but warming temps are an issue.
Trip report from Europe: We are still in Austria completing a 3-day storm cycle of over 1 meter of snow (3 feet plus). Wednesday was the highlight thus far with full-on storm riding at Zauchensee for day #2. The difference from day 1, is that a crowd formed at the only lift open at 8:30 AM of more than 20 people. On day 1 that \crowd\" consisted of 4. Snow was deep and perfect medium density with over 12-14 laps in the trees and 3 in open bowls (White Room, no vis). Today I ventured to Sportgastein with trusty weather colleague Luke. We chose this mountain since they had upper lifts closed the day before, and lots of steep terrain. The chase went sideways as we were the only car lined up at a road closure at 7:30 AM (Employees also) when at 8 AM we were informed the mountain was remaining closed. Plan #2 race to BadGastein about 20 minutes away and try to grab the upper mountain opening there. My colleague forgot his mask (Had a surgical mask) and when we were just about to load the Gondola was pulled out of line. He was able to purchase a mask at the ticket window. The upper mountain remained closed until 9:30 AM with only a few waiting. The Austrians were gladly skiing groomers below, socializing with friends, and a few were doing some odd stretch exercises outside the Gondola. The powder is not a priority here. The time finally came when the upper mountain opened! We carefully thought out the plan of jumping into the backside. Some locals suggested the front side. Off we went to the backside down a long traverse for 10 minutes and OUCH, we made a wrong turn and ended up on a groomer! We grabbed our snowboards and hiked back up (20 minutes) and found our dream run. No tracks! But wait, it was so wind-scoured that it felt like you were running over hard bolts (0 Powder) until midway down. Then we sank into some dreamy but a bit creamy (Not perfect) snow that also ended up on a groomer. This is the frustration anyone can relate to that chases powder. Austria is amazing, but sometimes the pow does not love you. More powder is in the forecast models for Sunday to Tuesday (20 plus).
Below: The Alps are amazing just after a storm! Glacier views from the Dachstein West Ski Area. Photo: @powderchasersteve via Instagram
On with the forecast: New England will play in the big league Friday (Snow beginning late Thursday). Expect 12-16 inches for most of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Much less to no snow further south. Cold temps will produce very high-quality worth a chase. This is payback from last week's warm and windy storm. Central Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine might see the highest totals but all mountains will grab double digits.
Below: Deep freshies for most of central and northern New England Friday (Storm ski).
Below: Colder temps will accompany this storm for New England with very high-quality pow.
In the West light to moderate snow will be falling over BC and the Cascades. Temps are warming with quality deteriorating down low. Expect 3-8 inches for the central and northern Cascades and BC (West may see less, with Revy in the 8-inch range). The best time to ride will be Thursday or Friday but don't expect light density pow.
In recapping the last. storm, we mentioned Wolf Creek as our #1 pick with Taos as a solid wildcard. It turns out Wolfie grabbed 15 inches and Taos 30 inches (2 days). That overperformed for sure and happy to see New Mexico finally getting deep snowfall. That storm really skunked many areas west of the Divide and intensified with SW flow over the 4 corners. Hopefully, some of you chased south.
Unfortunately for the west, there are no big storms on the horizon for at least 8-12 days. A small system might brush the eastern Rockies by next weekend (Day 7-8) with high pressure firmly entrenched. The only good news I can share is that the models show a deep low possibly moving over the west at some point around the middle of the month. This might bring some heavy snow back to Utah before dropping south over the 4 corners. This could be a good storm, however, data that far out lacks strong confidence.
Below: Teaser system might brush the eastern Rockies, especially Colorado by next weekend.
Below: The long-term ensembles show a deepening low forming over the Rockies by the middle of the month.
Also, if you want to HELI in Alaska our trusted partner Alaska Backcountry Guides has a few weeks still open in March (Highly recommend them). Please mention Powderchasers and receive a free mid level concierge package.