Hello everyone, this is Powderchaser Steve issuing our final 22/23 post for the North America Ski Season.
We will still issue periodic updates with any significant storms, especially for South America this summer. This post will recap some highlights of the most epic season in our books.
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BRIEF POWDER FORECAST and recap of the season.
The pattern in the next 5 days will bring a cold front into California (Light snow is already falling that will eventually bring some teasing snow to the Rockies and Cascades late this week. We don't see any significant dumps to chase, however, a taste of winter will return with unseasonably cold temps (Snow levels 7-8K) and 3-9 inches of snow spread out over several days. The pattern may stay active into the middle of next week with more systems on the models. Some pass-level snow is possible in California, especially over Donner Summit Friday-Saturday.
Below: Total snowfall will be persistent with light intensity in the Sierra over the next several days (Cooling trend) with some snow and colder temps noted for the western Cascades, Idaho, Montana, Tetons, Wasatch, and Colorado late this week.
Below: The coldest air arrives Friday night into Saturday for the west with snow levels dropping to 6K feet in California. Colder air appears to be pushing into Oregon off the coast by Saturday morning. The Rockies generally will see light snow above 8,000 feet (Persistent light waves). This pattern might continue into early next week with some additional snow.
As our final regular post of the season, we review the highlights and some snow totals from the most epic season in our books. What happened?
We forecasted a La Niña season early this year which brought early snowfall to the Northern Rockies (Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho were the earliest recipients). In November with dry and warm conditions In the Sierra locals were saying "Another skunk year" as storms stayed north. In early to mid-December the storm track shifted further south and the firehouse stayed wide open for California and many areas of the west. La Niña continued with storms and colder temps bringing low land snow in many areas that rarely see powder, especially the Oregon coast and much of California (Coastal ranges).
The firehose stayed open for much of the season with very few breaks for chasing powder. The focus seemed to be on the Cascades (Oregon did best), Sierra, central Idaho, Tetons, Wasatch, southern and central regions of Colorado, Northern Arizona, and New Mexico. Montana stayed a bit north of the deepest totals initially but played catch-up later this season (April was a bonus month). Even Southern California and coastal area mountains scored big time with the epic 3-5 foot dump for Mount Baldy. There were no losers in the West last season.
Below: Here is the total SWE (Water if you melted all the snow) percent of normal as of April 17th. Very impressive 200% plus numbers for the Sierra, Utah, and central Wyoming. Near normal for the northern areas of the Washington Cascades, with well above normal for Oregon and areas of central and southern Idaho. Montana and areas of Colorado along the I-70 corridor had a near-normal season. Higher amounts are noted for the western corridor of I-70 north to Steamboat, Aspen, Crested Butte, and the San Juan ranges including New Mexico and Northern Arizona. There were many stretches where snow reports had few days without reporting snowfall and we can remember endless days in a row of double digits with an occasional sun break.
Below: December 11 Powder in the Sierra where these cars were buried in just 6 hours with 30-50 inch snow totals at Palisades that did not open the next day. These cars were clear at 7 pm and the photo was at 4 am. The Sierra was fully back in the game. Photo: @powderchasersteve December 11th
Below: Palisades Tahoe was TXXS deep for overnight powder on December 11th. The Ski Area stayed closed that day! Powder Luke (@lukestone84) and I chased to SugarBowl (chase 2) from Palisades in hopes of an opening of some steep terrain but were shut down at the last minute after waiting for 1st chair (2 letdowns in 1 day for us). There is nothing worse than being 1st chair twice and waist-deep powder with 0 lifts spinning.
Below: Incredible chase to Jackson mid-winter with 20-30 inch storm totals over 2 days. @powderchasersteve had a blowout near Alpine (Rock slide) on the chase and ended up driving on a donut for 2 days (There is no turning back). VW Alltrack with 3 Blizzaks and this donut did surprisingly well. We chased to Snowbird on day 3 where I replaced 4 tires at Discount Tire in Idaho Falls on my way back to Utah just barely making the LCC road closure.
Here is a quick summary of some resorts that broke all-time records
Eagle Point, UT – 367 inches
Cherry Peak, UT – 459 inches
China Peak, CA – 549 inches
Heavenly, CA – 566 inches
Jackson Hole, WY – 595 inches
Deer Valley, UT – 598 inches
Snowbasin, UT – 613 inches
Park City, UT – 636 inches
Bear Valley Resort, CA – 672 inches
Kirkwood, CA – 705 inches
Mammoth Mountain, CA – 705 inches
Palisades Tahoe, CA – 710 inches
Dodge Ridge Mountain Resort, CA – 731 inches
Boreal, CA – 735 inches
Solitude Mountain Resort, UT 809 inches
Snowbird, UT – 831 inches
Brighton, UT – 878 inches
Alta, UT – 903 inches- WOO HOO, and the snowiest March on record with 189 inches. That number will creep up this week.
Below is @powderchasersteve nabbing 1st chair at Stevens Pass this season.
There were endless hikes on Baldy this season at Snowbird. Utah had so many deep days that it's a blur to me on which was best. Chases to Snowbird, Powder Mountain, Sundance, Snowbasin, Park City- repeat repeat-repeat.
Below: Powderchasers (Luke and Steve) were trapped at the Cliff during the 5 day Inter-lodge this season (Snowbird hit their all time record YTD). Where is this guys car? 111 inches in 5 days!
Below: Powderchaser Steve hiking Baldy at Snowbird with a bit of sun poking.
Thanks for reading our last 22/23 post for North America.