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FINAL POWDERCHASERS POST 23/24- Season Recap, Next Season La Niña

It's that time of year when we say goodbye to our regular postings. While it's sad to write a final post, next season will be upon us before we know it. We will periodically post powder alerts for the areas of the world experiencing winter with our summer (SA, NZ, Australia). Thanks for your support this season! 

Today is the final day to purchase your Ikon Pass at the lowest price here.

On Wednesday, the cold front that slammed southern Montana edged a bit closer to the Tetons than expected. W, NW winds and cold temps created significant snow squalls highlighting Grand Targhee resort with 10 inches during the day. Snow quality was blower atop a firmer surface. The Teton ranges further east toward the Pass and JHMR (Closed) saw lower totals. Light snow is falling on the Front Range of Colorado on Thursday. Snow will increase Friday afternoon for the Front Range Foothills extending into Summit County for Saturday morning. The Divide resorts are favored versus the western I-70 corridor. 

Models are a bit iffy on totals, anywhere from 3-9 inches from Thursday to Saturday favoring resorts along or east of the Divide. Peak periods of snowfall will be Friday PM to Saturday with lighter snow Thursday. 

Below: Ensembles showing steady periods of light snow for Berthoud Pass with a few inches Thursday, and then rising Friday/Saturday (April 20/21) with another 2-7 inches possible.  Snow ratios will be 10:1 (Medium to to medium dense). There is still lots of model uncertainty with the wider spaced lines. You can see the small rises from Friday to Sunday (No single deep event, with 2-3 ripples peaking Saturday). 

Below: Total snowfall in Colorado per the NAM 12 is showing a narrow band of moderate totals favoring the Front Range Mountains and extending up to the Divide and into Summit County. The GFS is in agreement here, with the short term HRR pushing most moisture further east near the Front Range. Aim to ride light accumulations Friday with 3-6 possible for Saturday. Areas west of the Divide along I-70 will see lower totals (Breckenridge is still in the hunt on this map). Thursday to Saturday totals might be in the 4-10 inch range. 


Season Recap

El Niño Played out as forecasted this season with a few bumps in the road. 

We started the season off with near normal totals for most areas of the Rockies aside from Montana who kept getting teased with most of the snow falling to the south (Wyoming etc.).  The PNW had a rough start with several warm periods of rain and high elevation snow. Moisture was decent but temps were warm. 

The Sierra really kicked into gear by mid season climbing to near or slightly above normal by the end of the season (Greatest comeback in a long time). The PNW recovered somewhat by February with 1-2 weeks of cold storms (Baker had 65 inches in 5 days) but had many dry spells. Selkirk Powder Guiders in northern Idaho managed to salvage out slightly higher totals and cooler temps on a few storms that primarily brought rain to the western Cascades. 

Oregon consistently outperformed Washington significantly. Overall, Washington and northern Idaho did not have a great season but managed to get enough snow to open most terrain (Season was saved).

Most folks in the Sierra had given up by January only to see incredible deepness return mid to late season. The Jet finally dipped south to allow plentiful moisture to finally hit the Sierra Range (Early season moisture pushed north of California). 

Below: Total water if you melted all the snow (SWE) is well below normal in the northern tiers of the PNW, near normal in Oregon and well above normal in Utah (130%), Nevada (162% in the northern inland areas) and in the 120% range for the Sierra. The Tetons came in near normal while the northern tier Rockies ended up falling considerably short. Arizona was near normal but had plenty of dry periods, especially early season. 

Looking at the map below, you can see the classic El Niño Signature with a the southern areas coming out ahead. From our chases this year, we spent most of our time in the Utah/Colorado/Wyoming and the Sierra towards the latter part of the season. New Mexico also did very well this season with a few 2-4 foot storms that pushed their numbers high. Taos had a period where 3 feet fell in 2.5 days in late March. 

Technically, Utah and Colorado are not influenced much by El Niño or La Niña winters sitting in the middle of both patterns aside from the far southern resorts which benefit better with El Niño. 

We spent endless days in Utah where deep dumps kept on coming from Beaver Mountain (15 Inch Dump we chased) to most resorts outside SLC. Miraculously the Cottonwood Canyons stayed open for the majority of winter with even 600 plus inches of snow in LCC. Last season LCC closed over 40 times with this season we can count on almost 1 hand (Lots of 9-15 inch storms vs the mega 2-3 footers). 

Overall winner of the 23/24 season by far is Alaska with over 700 inches of snow at Alyeska. Anchorage is within 12 inches of breaking an all time record of 134 inches. 



Next winter's outlook

La Niña is expected to take back over next winter, with very good model agreement:

This has big implications for North American 24/25 ski season. Namely, this will drive the moisture and storm tracks further north than this season, favoring the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, and the Tetons rather than the southwest like we saw this season. Northern Colorado and Utah will be right on the edge and could go either way.

Photo tour of 23/24 season highlights. 

Below: Alyeska was off to an incredible start in December and continued to pound all winter long. 735 inches as of April 18. 

Below: Steamboat outperformed big time in Colorado this season with 389 inches thus far on the books (That's Little Cottonwood like numbers). 

Below: Recent storm at Mammoth with over 35 inches in 24-48 hours. Photo: @powderchasersteve via instagram 

Below: @powderchasersteve via Instagram taking one of the highest quality runs of the season at Aspen Highlands in March (15-18 inches of pure blower). 

Below: Massive dump on the Front Range near Boulder brought 45-55 inches to Eldora Resort that remained closed on the storm day. With roads closed most folks chose to make their own ski area just below the Flatirons (100 students were skiing Chautauqua park.  Photo: @powderchasers

Below:  35 inches in 7 days at Vail brought some epic chases. 

Below:  One of the best chases of our season at JHMR with 45 inches in 3 days. 

Below: Huge bonus for Colorado on April 16th with 20 inches overnight at Copper. Never put the boards away too soon! Keep your snow tires on @Tirerack. 


This is our final post for 23/24 and encourage all of you to please donate on our website or purchase the swag. The donations help us more so if you have taken advantage of chasing powder, or living vicariously through Powderchasers please contribute here. We survive on your help from the powder community.  Donate:  https://powderchasers.com/pages/donate-to-powderchasers

Swag is available here with a special sale on all the new tee shirts.  https://powderchasers.com/collections/frontpage

Thanks for following Powderchasers!  Special thanks to our many sponsors on this page. Please support them! We are always looking for new partnerships so don't hesitate to reach out to our marketing team powderchasersmedia@gmail.com.  

Powderchasers Team,- Steve, Blake, Clay, Meredith, and Paul. 


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