2 systems are going to impact the West to close out the week. The first is sliding off the southern Pacific of California and will bring 6-12 inches of snow to the 4 corners Saturday/Sunday. The 2nd system moves over Vancouver Island early Sunday and will bring 12-18 inches of snow to the Cascades into Monday. Colorado will benefit from both storms with winds shifting moisture initially in the San Juan Range into the I-70 and the Front Range by mid-Sunday-Monday. Snow continues over Colorado midweek.
Starting with the 4 corners, the models are still not agreeing on the exact placement of the highest moisture for the Saturday/Sunday storm. I have looked at the Euro, GFS, Canadian. The Euro wants to push moderate snow from the San Juan Ranges Sunday into the I-70 corridor for 4-7 inches of snow for many resorts (Further north) while the GFS and Canadian favor a southern influence.
What we think will happen:
For chasing powder your best bets will be Arizona Snowbowl midday Saturday (Snowing) through Sunday. Expect 4-7 inches Saturday and another 4-8 inches for Sunday morning. That system will also bring 6-10 inches to Brian Head in southern Utah and perhaps Eagle Creek (Wildcard) for Sunday morning. Areas north in Utah will see light snow especially near Provo (Sundance) which is on the northern edge of precip. Chase south!
In Colorado, in averaging out the models your best bet Sunday might be north of Durango at Purgatory, Silverton or Telluride if you believe the GFS (6-12 inches by late Sunday). Purgatory or Silverton may be favored initially under southerly winds. If you believe the Euro moderate snow is possible further north into central and even the northern Colorado mountains along I-70 for Sunday (4-7) and similar amounts for Telluride. Wolf Creek is of high confidence for 4-8 inches Sunday morning and another 3-6 during the day. So if this just confused you, we need a few more model runs to pinpoint the deepest totals but if you base yourself in Durango and chase early you should be able to score powder for Sunday. Wildcard- Novelty Pick: Heavy snow is possible on the western side of I-70 in the Grand Mesa (Grand Junction). It's possible that Powderhorn comes up with a Sunday surprise (Watch the webcams). The models all show a nice swath of snow for the Grand Junction mountains so keep an eye on Powderhorn. Wolf is perhaps a safer bet, however, if the GFS proves correct Telluride, Purgatory, and Silverton will all score for Sunday morning.
Winds in Colorado shift to the NW and North at some point Sunday favoring Telluride, Aspen, and resorts along the Front Range (Northerly winds). It's possible that by late Sunday even though you chased south for deeper totals in the AM, that some places where you started to end up with decent amounts. The models show the Front Range including Berthoud Pass, WP, and Loveland all doing well at some point late Sunday to Monday.
Below: University of Utah plumes showing an average of all model runs at 5 inches for Vail Sunday morning. The extended period shows continued light or moderate snow showers through midweek (Gradual rise).
Below: Here is the same data for Red Mountain Pass Sunday morning in the San Juan Range (10 inches).
in the Pacific Northwest, high confidence exists for storm skiing Sunday from Whistler to the Cascades of Washington. Sunday morning may only come up with 3-6 inches up north (Baker, Whistler) with less further south. All areas of the Washington Cascades will be grabbing moderate to heavy snow Sunday (Late AM to early Monday). Totals are likely to be in the 12-18 inch range by Monday morning with showers continuing. Snow levels will drop by midday Sunday so quality will be improving. Convergence zones are likely late Sunday to Monday favoring the central Cascades closest to Everett. Storm ski Sunday (North may report higher totals) followed by a refresh for Monday. The Good: Decent amounts of snow. The Bad: Timing with the start of Sunday morning versus all overnight. I think that Sunday night could still deliver to some areas.
Below: University of Utah Plumes for Crystal Mountain showing wide discrepancies from 10-20 inches or more through Monday. Snow will start on Sunday (Heavy by late AM).
The PNW storm this weekend moves light to moderate snow over the Tetons and Central Idaho Panhandle (Heavier) Monday (Lighter amounts in the Wasatch) and eventually sets Colorado up for some persistent snow showers in an unstable colder NW flow. This will bring fresh conditions to most ski areas each day through Midweek in Colorado. While the models don't depict any single deep event, the sum totals will be decent from Sunday to Wednesday (7-15 inches for most of the central and northern mountains of Colorado). Orographic snow showers sometimes can sneak out deeper events, not in the forecast.
Enjoy the chases, everyone! Its a bit tricky this week. Dont forget to join our custom chase concierge service and support our sponsors on the webpage.