Finally we saw decent totals for the Sierra in the past 48 hours with up to 18 inches at Sierra Tahoe and generally 8-14 inches along Sierra Crest including Mammoth. Reports from a concierge member at Kirkwood were "good powder, surprisingly okay coverage" The Sierra is not likely to over perform on the next system that edges higher totals in the PNW, Western BC, with the Rockies scoring decent totals over a 3 day period (Slow ramp up).
The storm that exited the Sierra on Wednesday is currently over the 4 corners teasing resorts in AZ, CO and NM. Some reports from Thursday morning are
Brian Head: 7 inches
Sunrise Peak AZ- 6 inches
AZ Snowbowl 4 inches
Wolf Creek- Official report 3 inches
The next storm will push ashore on Friday into the PNW and BC and bring widespread double digits to many ski areas. NW winds are favorable for many resorts and with colder temps some convergence zones could form bringing higher totals near Stevens Pass or Snoqualmie. Saturday will be a storm day in these areas. Oregon may see the highest intensity Saturday to Sunday. The Sierra is on tap for Saturday to Sunday with a bit of uncertainty on totals.
Below: Low pressure pushing into the PNW Saturday and edging south into the 4 corners by Sunday. This will be responsible for our next stronger wave of moisture for the weekend.
The next storm favors western BC (Whistler, Cypress) and will push double digits into these regions Friday AM through Saturday AM. 9-15 inches are likely for these regions that peak Friday mid-morning to early Saturday before the lifts open (Canada gets a jump on timing). Decent totals are noted for the Cascade Ranges, with 7-15 inches likely for many areas including Oregon. Higher amounts are possible with the colder temps (Outside chance of 15-20). Whistler summit could be deep on Friday PM or Saturday AM.
If I were chasing, I might consider Whistler for storm skiing on Friday or 1st chair on Saturday. Saturday might offer double digits in central or northern Washington with decent amounts further south into Oregon or northern Idaho later Saturday to Sunday.
Below: Total water (Precip) through Saturday morning is healthy, especially for the central and northern Cascades into BC (2 inches of moisture) Northern Idaho and northern Montana near Whitefish could finally see a decent event. Figure on double digits in most areas of the Cascades by Saturday morning with 10-15 inches on the northern or central ranges of WA. BC totals have higher confidence. The latest models are a bit more bullish for Oregon (Not shown).
Meanwhile, weak energy flowing from the PNW Thursday/Friday is entering the Rockies. That system will tease the Tetons and Wasatch before the deeper moisture drops into the 4 corners for the weekend.
The teaser late this week (Friday) could sneak up some decent totals, especially in the Wasatch Friday with 4-7 inches during the day. Winds from the north veer to the NW midday Friday Intensity might increase for the Cottonwoods. Look for some freshening Friday, a slight break Saturday AM with an increase again Saturday night to Sunday for northern Utah. Snow showers could continue into Monday.
Sponsor Alert: This post is sponsored by Skis.com and Snowboards.com. Powderchasers supports them being family-owned and with a vast selection of quality gear and clothing. We will donate a PC tee shirt for every purchase over $200 (Email us). They have an incredible selection. Please support them as a family owned shop and sponsor.
Friday to Sunday Storm
Below: Total snowfall through Monday morning per the European ensembles shows a more north and eastward advance of the low pushing higher totals this weekend into the Wasatch. There are still some differences in the model runs on Thursday morning. This might be a slow build-up of 10-18 inches for Utah (4-7 Friday) with several days of moderate snow Saturday night to Monday (No single huge dump but good totals).
The Tetons are stuck in the 4-10 inch range with less for southern Montana (What the heck is going on for Big Sky).
The Sierra is in the moderate range for Saturday (5-11) with this model the most pessimistic. Colorado is highlighting moderate snow for the northern and central mountains (5-10) with higher amounts in the San Juan Range including New Mexico (12-18) this weekend. Selkirk Powder Guides in northern Idaho including the northern panhandle will do well with this storm.
Below: The American GFS ensembles show similar totals The Deterministic model showed less for Utah with a bit further west or south progression (Utah is still a wildcard between very deep and just a moderate dump for the weekend). This solution offers more hope for 12-18inches for the Sierra range for Saturday-Sunday. Arizona SnowBowl is stuck in that moderate zone for the storm period with better totals in southern CO.
Below: Strong winds will be cranking on Saturday in the Sierra likely impacting lifts (Sunday might be the better chase day).
Below: Stevens Pass snow totals per the U. U ensembles. These tend to be overdone but there is good confidence in 15-28 inches in the next 7 days ending January 11th. It's reasonable to expect 9-15 on the first storm Friday night-Saturday.
Below: Palisades at Taho ensembles from the U. U have very low consensus. Wide-spaced lines, lots of uncertainties. If the GFS solution pans out we will hit double digits, but there is also the possibility that the weekend storm stay on the moderate side. Map- Shows averages of 5, 10, or 15. As of midday Thursday the GFS shows 1-2 feet with the European still conservative at 9-12. .
Below: The Storm door stays wide open next week with another strong area of low pressure noted entering the PNW as early as next Tuesday, January 9. Next week looks like a repeat.
Help us out!
If you want to chase powder with Powderchasers sign up for the concierge package for the deepest resorts to chase to and 1:1 custom forecasting with our staff. Also, if you have read this far, please donate for the holidays to continue receiving these free forecasts. We appreciate the community support. You won't regret chasing with our custom forecasts.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @powderchasers
Powderchaser Steve @powderchasersteve - Instagram