It's beginning to feel more like a post from February versus mid-April. Several systems are going to impact the West this week beginning with SW winds, warm temps, very high elevation snow (Tetons). By Tuesday PM, NW winds push a cold front through the intermountain west crashing snow levels to all Valley locations. Significant snow will be falling from southern Montana to the Wasatch. Colorado earns the leftovers Wednesday with another system on tap for the Front Range late week
Very warm temperatures early this week will keep snowfall above 8-9,000 feet for most ski areas through Tuesday. The Tetons are just at Freezing at the summit of JHMR currently (Closed). A solid push of moisture slams into the Tetons later Monday into Tuesday with 5-11 inches of dense snow expected above 8,000 feet (Through midday Tuesday). Temps cool slightly into Tuesday and even more so by late in the day with heavy precipitation falling during the day. Grand Targhee is open midweek currently so might be reporting deep numbers by the close of lifts Tuesday (Lower at the base area but cool enough to see snow perhaps from just above or at the base elevations). Temps crash to the Valley floor Tuesday night with another 4-8 inches likely for better quality pow for Wednesday morning. Aim for midday chairs Tuesday (Higher elevations) at Targhee and 1st chairs for Wednesday.
Montana will benefit primarily Tuesday PM to Wednesday AM. In looking at models, the most likely players for deep snow will fall from Red Lodge Mountain (Initially likes NE winds Tuesday before NW flow pushes moisture further west) to the Gallatin and Madison ranges. Bridger and Big Sky should all be reporting double digits at some point from late Tuesday to early Wednesday. Even the Montana Snowbowl is showing decent snowfall from this storm outside of Missoula (Closed until Friday).
The Wasatch sits in a dry and warm slot today with some moisture showing up on models for Tuesday afternoon. Warm SW flow will keep any snowfall confined to the upper peaks above 8500 feet. A powerful cold front slams into the Wasatch Tuesday night switching winds to the NW. That will bring snow to the Salt Lake Valley by Wednesday morning. Expect 6-10 inches on the snow reports by 8 AM Wednesday for both Big and Little Cottonwood. Snowbasin should see 4-8 inches during the same period (Generally prefers SW wind direction). Some isolated higher amounts are possible in Little Cottonwood. Snow will continue with unstable NW flow on Wednesday. Another 5-10 inches is possible during this period. Caveats: Lake Effect snow is possible with the Great Salt lake kicking in Wednesday. Due to very warm temps preceding this storm and a rapid decrease Tuesday PM, it's possible that drier density pow still allows you to sink to those warm or frozen layers below? That may be gone by late Wednesday and early Thursday.
Below: The University of Utah SREF Plumes showing an average of 25 inches through late Thursday for Alta Ski Area
Snow continues Wednesday night in the Wasatch with an unstable NW flow. Expect another 3-6 inches of snow for Thursday morning favoring the Cottonwoods. If the lake kicks in, amounts could be higher.
Below: Total snowfall through Wednesday night for southern Montana, Tetons, and the southern Wasatch range. Additional snow is possible into Thursday, especially in Utah.
For Colorado, leftovers are aimed at most of the central and northern mountains. NW winds should do well for many areas primarily Wednesday and Thursday. The models are only showing 5-10 inches through the period. Cold temperatures and orographics may enhance these totals. Favored locations for this pattern are Vail, Breckenridge, Snowmass, and possibly Copper. Aim to ride Wednesday (Snowing) and again Thursday morning. NW winds will also push decent snow into the northern San Juan Mountains. The extended forecast brings some interesting prospects for Colorado.
Below: University of Utah SREF plumes showing an average of 10 inches for Vail Pass by early Thursday morning (Combined Wednesday and Thursday snowfall).
Another system pushes into the west mid to late week. The Pacific Northwest is in scoring position for 7-10 inches of snowfall Thursday (3500 snow levels). Unstable air will continue in the NW peaking again in time for the weekend (Warming). The moisture from the PNW drags over the Wasatch perhaps Friday (Light to moderate amounts) and into Colorado in time for the weekend. Some models show enhanced precipitation, possibly heavy at times for the eastern areas of I-70 (Summit and Clear Creek Counties). Moisture will be digging south towards the San Juans at some point Saturday or Sunday (Including New Mexico). Some decent totals are showing up for the San Juans this weekend that may favor the eastern sections due to wind direction (NE). More on that in a future post.
Yet another system slams into the Pacific Northwest next weekend (Initially warm but cooling by Sunday). That system drags over the Rockies perhaps for late Sunday or Monday.
Wow! what an exciting period. Don't put the boards away just yet!
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