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MARCH MADNESS: 2-4 FEET of Snow For the West This Week

After a warm and wet series of systems last week, the West is finally in for a nice stretch of a cold and active pattern. Everywhere in the West will see good skiing, but the best resorts to score deep turns will be found in California, Utah, and Colorado. In the short term this weekend we are looking at a double digit dump for Alyeska and cold temps Friday/Saturday. More moderate snow arrives Saturday night to Sunday (Slight warming). 

Below: Alaska is in the spotlight this weekend. - Alaska Backcountry Guides is offering a buy 3 seats and get 1 free from March 19-25th! Snow is in the forecast. Mention Powderchasers for your free seat and click on the link above. 

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California- Decent totals beginning Monday morning and extending into midweek with 2 systems to watch. 

As usual, California will receive the blast of moisture first. The first period of snowfall will begin on Sunday during the day and bring a few inches of fresh snow. Snowfall will intensify on Sunday evening into Sunday night. Temperatures will be cold compared to last week, although there may be a period of mixed precipitation at lake level on Sunday evening before transitioning to snow overnight. Conditions should be great on Monday morning with 6-10” for the western Lake Tahoe basin and 2-5” further east. Mammoth will see 2-4”. 

Snow to liquid ratios during this storm will be hovering near 10:1 snow, meaning this snow will not be fluffy, blower pow but it beats the alternative of rain like last week! Winds will be on the tamer side during this storm, so resorts will likely be able to operate upper mountain lifts pending avalanche mitigation. 

Snowfall rates will peak during the day on Monday and bring another 5-10” for west Tahoe and 2-6” in the east. Mammoth should pick up 2-5” with slightly fluffier snow. Here are what I see as realistic totals around the region by the time lifts start spinning on Tuesday morning:

  • Tahoe: 5-10\"
  • Mammoth: 4-8”

Heavy snowfall will continue on Tuesday morning but will taper off throughout the day. Tahoe should squeeze out another 3-6+ inches and Mammoth should see 8-12”. Tuesday night will bring lingering showers and another 5-10” for both Tahoe and Mammoth. 

Utah

Utah is just one skip downstream from the California moisture firehose, so whenever California does well, Utah typically does, too. This week is no exception, as resorts around the state are projected to get hammered.

Light snowfall begins early Monday morning and should give resorts a few inches during the day, especially in the Cottonwoods. Monday night will bring 3-6” for northern Utah, 6-12” for the Cottonwoods & PC/DV, and 8-12” at Eagle Point. Winds will be strong Monday night into Tuesday morning. 

Snow will decrease slightly during the ski day on Tuesday, dropping another 3-6” across the state. The main surge of the storm arrives on Tuesday night, where overnight totals by the time the lifts are spinning on Wednesday morning could be pretty epic:

  • Northern Utah: 4-7”
  • Cottonwood resorts: 10-16”
  • PC/DV: 6-12”
  • Southern Utah: 6-12”

Winds on Wednesday could be strong enough to close upper elevation lifts, so keep that in mind.

Above: GFS winds on Wednesday afternoon at 10K feet are strong for the southern Wasatch range and extending into Western Colorado. 

Snowfall rates will consistently decrease on Wednesday and Wednesday night, bringing another 10-18” to resorts around the region by Thursday AM.

Colorado

This storm will primarily dominate in Southern Colorado, so that’s where the good powder chasing targets will be found. The moisture first arrives in the San Juans during the ski day on Monday. This will bring a couple of inches during the day but no major accumulation.

Temps in Colorado are on the warm side especially through Wednesday before colder air moves in (Denser snow). 

Most of Colorado scores on Monday night, with 1-4” in the northern mountains, 3-8” for the central mountains (south of I70), and 7-12” for the San Juans. Our chase target on Tuesday would be Purgatory, where the southwest flow from this storm will squeeze out a few extra inches.

Steady snow will continue on Tuesday, especially in southern Colorado. Purgatory and Wolf Creek could score as much as 6” during the day. Another surge arrives on Tuesday night, which is when the magic really gets cranking. Here are what we see as realistic overnight totals:

  • Northern mountains: 2-5”
  • Central mountains: 5-12”
  • Southern mountains and Northern New Mexico 8-14” with 20-28” LIKELY AT WOLF CREEK! Taos will do well also! 

Wolf Creek is 100% the chase target for Wednesday. They are likely to score 6-12 more inches during the day. Other resorts in CO should end up with another 1-4” with southern Colorado seeing 3-5”. Keep in mind that gusty winds of 50+ mph could keep upper elevation lifts closed.

Wednesday night should bring some extra snow to central Colorado especially, so stay tuned for potential chases to Snowmass, Powderhorn, etc on Thursday. Winds shifting to the NW Thursday might drive some decent totals onto the I-70 corridor. Temps will be dropping from mid to late week with this storm. 

Another moderate storm seems likely for the west ahead of next weekend on Friday, so stay tuned for more Powderchasers forecasts with updated information as we get closer to the event. The PNW might start to fire again! 

Announcement: 

Powderchasers is now offering some great apparel, featuring high-quality US-made beanies and sweatshirts. This store will be expanded in the future but we are offering pre-release pricing on some great items. Please check out our store and support us with some Powderchasers gear that supports our site: https://powderchasers.com/store.

Don't forget to join our Concierge program for custom chase forecasts or donate here.  Our concierge program will provide you custom forecasts to insure you get into the deepest snow (Our chase secrets).  Donations keep our free forecasts going. Members rarely miss the deepest days. 


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