Post-Turkey day delivered as forecasted with 10-18 inches in the Tetons and most of Colorado. Montana nabbed decent moderate events. The Wasatch delivered 20 inches to many resorts. Below: My chase to Grand Targhee did not disappoint on Saturday
The next chase took me to Vail Ski area on Sunday where ropes were dropping in the back bowls all day making for some epic conditions. Below: Forever rope drops (10-15 minutes after opening). Making the first track down Apres Vous may have been my highlight.
Lets get to the forecast!
Heavy snow is falling in New England this morning with a wide area of 8-14 inches being reported at many ski areas (14 at Stratton, 10 at Sugarbush). If you're in chase position in New England you will be met with good quality freshies and guaranteed face shots (Chase now). Snow will continue Tuesday with another 3-8 inches likely by midnight tonight (Northern areas are favored).
In the west, you can score deep powder in nearly every region this week favoring the Sierra, and 4 corners regions. Moderate powder is very likely from Tetons tonight. Heavy snow is a wildcard for the Wasatch and for much of western Colorado this weekend.
Rainfall has currently broken November records in Seattle. Automated data has me believing that 5 inches of rain fell over Mount Baker in the past 24 hours. Colder air will move over the Cascades late tonight and Wednesday with 5-10 inches of high elevation snowfall (Above 5,000 feet). Most ski areas in the PNW will benefit through Thursday morning. The interior Panhandle of Idaho may score higher amounts. Things could be chase worthy by Thursday morning (Short-term chase) with an ugly mank layer beneath the new snow.
The Sierra will score 2-3 feet of pow through late Thursday. Light snow will be falling above 7500 feet Wednesday morning with snow levels lowering to the valley floors by Thursday morning. Heavy snow will be falling Thursday above 5500 feet. This system on the models seems to favor the central and southern Sierra, so amounts may exceed 18-26 inches at the summits favoring resorts like Kirkwood, Sierra at Tahoe and Mammoth. The northern resorts may see slightly lower amounts. Amounts at the bases of all resorts should range from 6-10 inches (Chase Thursday-Friday). Mammoth will see higher amounts benefiting from a higher elevation.
Below: Heavy moisture over the Sierra Thursday morning (Storm ski). Brighter blues (heavier moisture) is noted in Mono County near Mammoth. Image: Courtesy of Meteostar.
In the Rockies, a trickier forecast has me believing that my forecast will change in the next 24-36 hours. Currently, I am confident for moderate snow for the Tetons Tuesday night into Wednesday (5-10). Colder air will benefit the Tetons where most of Utah and Colorado stay in the warm sector. Wednesday morning should offer a moderate freshening with snow falling through the morning at both Targhee and JHMR. Light snow will be falling in the northern Wasatch (North of I-80) and most of western Colorado during this timeframe. If you're looking to chase powder, consider a stronger push of moisture in the Wasatch on Thursday (2-5) and an uptick or snow for most of far western Colorado Thursday night and Friday.
Models do not agree on who will see the highest amounts in Colorado. My confidence is higher with resorts like Crested Butte, Monarch, Silverton, Purgatory, and Wolf Creek. Aspen is a solid wildcard. Steamboat is also in the mix. Resorts further east will see less snow. Beaver Creek may sneak into the mix? If you believe the GFS, most snow will drop to the 4 corners by Friday morning. If you believe the Euro, more snow will remain north. Arizona Snowbowl is a solid contender. What day to chase? I would aim for Wednesday for the Tetons and Friday for \"Somewhere\" in western Colorado (Will fine tune the forecast as we get closer). The 4 corners including CB may offer your safest bet.
Below: Total snowfall for Colorado through Friday morning (GFS). The Euro shows much less snow for the southern resorts and moderate snow up north.
Below: University of Utah weather plumes for the Tetons showing good agreement on 5-10 inches by late Wednesday morning (Graph is for the summit of JHMR).
In Utah, a southwest flow and better moisture may fall in the northern Wasatch initially before most of the mountains benefit on Friday/Saturday. Big Cottonwood, especially Solitude could be favored. There will be several periods of light to moderate snow Wednesday/Thursday. A stronger push of moisture will occur Thursday night/Friday (5-10). Winds shift West/NW Friday night and Saturday with cooler temps allowing another burst of moderate snowfall to continue into Saturday morning. Totals in the Wasatch may exceed 10-16 inches over the next 5 days. (Chase Friday or Saturday).