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POWDER ALERT: California, Utah, Colorado Score Big This Week

The West is in for yet another active week, with big totals in California, Utah, Colorado, and the PNW. Follow @lstone84 on Instagram for deep chase edits all season!

California

The first storm is already well underway in California, where another strong atmospheric river is delivering an impressive stream of moisture to the mountains. The first minor wave rolled in Sunday night night and brought solid overnight snow reports:

  • Mammoth: 19\"
  • Palisades Tahoe: 16\"
  • Kirkwood: 13\"
  • Northstar: 13\"
  • Sugar Bowl: 13\"
  • Homewood: 12\"
  • Sierra at Tahoe: 11\"

The second and main wave of the storm began this morning. Snowfall rates will peak on Monday afternoon and will likely exceed 2” per hour in the western Tahoe basin (Palisades, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood) with lower snowfall rates further east. This surge in moisture should bring an additional 6-12 inches for Tahoe resorts during the ski day on Monday (4-8” at Mt. Rose and Heavenly).

Temperatures during this storm will be ideal; expect very light and fluffy snow for the entirety of the storm. The combination of quality and quantity of this storm will make it the storm of the year for powder chasing.

Strong snowfall will continue on Monday night. Tuesday could be one of the best Tahoe ski days in recent memory; very light snow and LOTS of it on top of an already solid storm total. Here are what I see as realistic totals for overnight snow on Monday night by the time lifts open on Tuesday:

  • West Tahoe basin (Palisades, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood): 15-22”
  • Central Tahoe basin (Northstar, Homewood): 8-15”
  • East Tahoe basin (Mt. Rose, Heavenly): 4-8”
  • Mammoth: 6-10”

Precipitation will spike again on Tuesday and bring very solid snowfall during the ski day on Tuesday. Keep in mind that high winds will likely keep upper mountain lifts held/closed. From 8 am to 4 pm on Tuesday, I can see very solid totals keeping the snow untracked all day:

  • West Tahoe basin: 12-18”
  • Central Tahoe basin: 6-12”
  • East Tahoe basin: 3-6”
  • Mammoth: 3-6\"

Above: Tahoe area wind on Tuesday will be very strong with gusts over 70MPH at the ridge tops with 40-50 closer to mid-mountain. 

Snowfall rates will decrease from Tuesday afternoon until stopping on Wednesday morning. Wednesday will still be an excellent day of skiing, with overnight additional totals of 9-16” for west Tahoe, 4-8” for central, and 3-5” for east Tahoe. Mammoth could score around a foot on Tuesday night. Winds are looking better on Wednesday, so resorts will likely be able to open upper mountains after avalanche mitigation. 

Above: NBM snowfall through Wednesday night is upwards of 3-5 feet in some areas. 

Utah

Moisture from the same system that is hammering California will also score big for Utah. Snowfall already began last night, with solid overnight reports around the region.

A slight lull in the storm will slow snowfall rates during the ski day on Monday, but resorts should still see a few inches. Snow picks back up on Monday afternoon/evening. Here are what I see as reasonable overnight totals on Tuesday morning:

  • Cottonwood resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude): 12-18”
  • Park City/Deer Valley: 8-12”
  • Northern Utah (Beaver Mountain, Snowbasin, PowMow): 8-14”
  • Southern Utah (Brian Head, Eagle Point): 5-10”

Tuesday will see showers in the morning but not much accumulation during the day. Winds will be fairly strong on Tuesday and may lead to upper mountain lift closures.

Above: Wasatch snow, through Tuesday afternoon. Highest intensity is Monday night with a decrease on Tuesday morning. Winds will be very strong Monday night (Snow quality could be hampered on west facing slopes) but will decrease somewhat Tuesday morning. You might consider lower elevation resorts. LCC is closing at 10PM on Monday. 

A secondary bump of snow arrives in Utah on Tuesday night. This will further sweeten the storm total with 8-12+” of overnight snow at resorts across the state for year another powder day on Wednesday! 

Photo: Today! powderchasersteve took a bold move and chased to Snowbasin (12 inches) below for first chair (Left) on John Paul chair (Stayed closed until 10AM). He then drove to Powder Mountain (21 inches) and scored multiple laps at POW MOW.  2 Resorts in 1 day.  Follow his chase @powderchasersteve on Instagram. 

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Colorado

Colorado will see a slow-burning storm that will bring very respectable totals statewide. 

Snowfall will stay relegated to Steamboat during the day on Monday. The next wave of storm energy arrives on Monday night. Here are realistic totals by the time lifts are spinning on Tuesday morning:

  • Northern Colorado (including I70 resorts): 1-3” (2-5” at Steamboat)
  • Central Colorado: 2-4” (6” possible at Crested Butte)
  • Southern Colorado: 2-5” (6” possible at Wolf Creek)

Tuesday will see light showers, bringing 1-4” to resorts across the state.

Above: NBM snowfall through Tuesday night for Colorado. 

A major push of moisture arrives on Tuesday night, which will dump 2-6” in southern Colorado and 3-5” for central Colorado (CB, Aspen) by the time lifts start spinning. On Wednesday, this system will bring higher totals with 3-6” during the day for central and northern areas with another 8-12” possible at Wolf Creek. 

Wednesday night will bring additional snow mainly to southern Colorado, where resorts are looking at 3-6” and another 8-12” at Wolf Creek by Thursday morning. Wolf Creek will be a great chase target this week! 

Here are what I see as realistic storm totals by Thursday morning:

- Steamboat: 8-14\"

- I-70: 5-10\"

- Aspen: 7-12\"

- Crested Butte: 12-18\"

- Southern CO: 15-25\"

- Wolf Creek: 35-45\"https://selkirkpowder.com

PNW

After a stormy Sunday, the PNW will see lingering showers on Monday. Monday night will see a stronger system move in from the south, bringing the highest totals to Oregon and southern Washington. Timberline will be the chase target for Tuesday with 6-10” of overnight snow likely. Crystal and White Pass should score 3-5” and Cascade resorts further north will see 1-3”.

The ski day on Tuesday will bring a few extra inches around the region but nothing major; 1-3” with the highest totals at Snoqualmie Pass and Mt. Baker.

Things will quiet down until early Thursday morning when the next system moves onshore. Wednesday night will bring light accumulations to the Cascades, with 1-5” by the time the lifts start spinning (highest totals at Baker and Snoqualmie). Snowfall rates will ramp up during the day and drop 2-7” before the lifts close (again, Baker and Snoqualmie on the higher end of that range).

Friday will be a great day of skiing, with 3-6” for most resorts and 6-12” at Baker, Snoqualmie Pass, and Mt. Hood.

Selkirk Powder in Northern Idaho has snow in the forecast this week extending into next with some limited seats available for Cat Skiing (March only). Book now, as they fill up fast. 

It’s looking like a great week!

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