Its 5 AM and snowing heavily in Northern Utah with light to moderate snow still occurring over southern Colorado this morning, Heavy snow is falling with lake effect bands in some metro areas around Tahoe after 2-3 feet fell yesterday. An additional 30-50 inches are likely for the Sierra, 2 feet for the 4 corners and 2-3 feet in the Wasatch. This is a powder chasers dream if only everything was open huh! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Here are some snow totals that I have been able to come up with thus far from both ski reports and automated data as of 5 AM on Turkey Day. Its only getting started in the Rockies and Sierra with much snow on the way in the 2-4 day period. Snow totals are much in line with my forecast with the southern Sierra seeing the highest amounts near Mammoth and Snowbasin ramping up the highest totals in the Wasatch (SW flow).
1) Mammoth Mountain - Reported 25-27 inches new on Wednesday morning (Still snowing lightly)
2) Squaw Valley- Reported 18 inches (Verified by snow telemetry) mid-mountain on Wednesday.
3) Snowbasin 22-26 inches in looking at totals on the snow cam (Highlighted yesterday with SW flow)
4) Snowbird- 15-16 inches
5) Park City- 4-8 inches per snow telemetry.
The Bottom Line:
Southerly flow will continue to pump moisture from Arizona into Utah and Colorado peaking Friday afternoon to Saturday. SW flow will continue to favor the northern Wasatch (Snowbasin), Perhaps the Uinta range for Utah (Largest totals). Little and Big Cottonwood Canyon are performing well with steady light to moderate snow (ranges are in the 14-16 inch totals this morning in both Canyons). Another 15-25 inches should fall in many areas of Utah through Saturday afternoon. Winds veer more westerly late Friday night so the Cottonwoods, and even Park City may start to see greater than 1-2 inches per hour at times. Lake effect enhancement is possible. Peak snowfall will be late Friday night into Saturday (DEEP).
Below: Snowbasin Snow camera (Overnight snow on top of 13 inches from yesterday). We highlighted Snowbasin and the northern Wasatch on yesterdays forecast!
If you are chasing to Arizona (Snowbowl near Flagstaff) you can expect snow to increase by afternoon on Turkey Day. Heavy snow with strong winds will fall Thursday ight into Tuesday. If you are looking for deeper snow your best bet will be areas north of I-70 and to the east. Consider Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Berthoud Pass, Winter Park. Loveland is a wildcard. Breck is also a wildcard and can do well with upslope additionally. My confidence is lacking currently in the wildcards (Forecasting 4-7).
Meanwhile, while the winds are North and NE towards the Front Range, they remain West/Northwest on the western slope. Therefore, while Denver gets crushed, the mountains further west including Copper, Vail, Steamboat, and even Aspen and Telluride will grab some wrap-around moisture. The models are not overly excited amounts so my forecast is 4-8 inches. Most areas will be waking up to some light or moderate powder on Tuesday morning. Summit might disappoint.
In UT, Snow will fall Monday night into Tuesday with the highest amounts in the Cottonwoods (LCC- Perhaps 5-9 inches). The window for snow will be small. Additional snow will be falling in the extended forecast.
Let's jump to the extended forecast for some even better news. Really good news for the holiday! White Feathers will be the line of the day.
A very broad and deep trough will enter the Sierra on Tuesday/Wednesday. 2 feet plus is likely over a wide range of the ski areas in the Sierra (Ride Wednesday but there is 0 base). Snow levels will be very low (2-3,000 Feet). Deep snow will also be falling in the valley of all Tahoe highways including Reno. The Good: Deep snow is a certain bet. They need it. The Bad: Light density snow is not great for building a base that they really need. If you are out riding be aware of the sink through factor.
That system pushes east blasting the 4 corners region primarily Thanksgiving Day to Friday. Some snow may begin over the San Juan range on Wednesday afternoon. The peak snowfall will be Turkey Day. Models all show 20-30 inches for Wolf Creek, and somewhere in the 15-25 inch range from Durango to Purgatory. Slightly lower amounts will be falling at Telluride.
The southern system pushes into the Wasatch Wednesday night/Thursday. Most of Utah is going to see decent amounts. My forecast is 7-12 inches for Little Cottonwood, 8-15 inches for Big Cottonwood (Prefer SW wind direction), and 5-10 inches for Park City and areas north. Snowbasin may come up with some surprises also favoring SW winds. Less snow will be falling north towards Wyoming (Light amounts near Jackson).
For Colorado, the moisture eventually starts heading north on Thanksgiving Day PM/Friday and perhaps lingering into Saturday. Chasing on Friday may be best at Steamboat, Aspen, Crested Butte, or spots further west on I-70. All mountains in both the central and northern locations of Colorado will see snowfall in this late Thursday-Friday time period (I-70 corridor).
Bottom Line: Ride powder in the 4 corners for Turkey Day. Perhaps Arizona Snowbowl or Wolf Creek, or Purgatory. The Wasatch will also be doing well (Lacking a base, however). Ride powder in the central and northern mountains of Colorado Friday and Saturday (Decent amounts along I-70 favoring the western side) Steamboat while pretty far north might sneak up some decent amounts with SW winds pushing snow into Rout County. Sometimes these potent southern storms provide several days of chasing as they tend to take their time reaching the north. Ride South initially then chase north late week or Saturday. Look for new terrain openings at most southern resorts late this week (Hunger down and wait for new terrain).