Powder Alert-Southern Colorado-Powder Watch-Cascades, BC, Northern Rockies


Another storm system will enter the 4 corners Thursday/Friday spreading 7-15 inches of snow to some of the highest elevations. That system will skirt north with leftovers for the I-70 corridor midday Friday to Saturday. The Pacific Northwest could get deep next week.


Light snow is already falling in the San Juan Range of Colorado, especially over Wolf Creek Pass. From automated telemetry, it appears Telluride scored 8 inches in 24 hours of which 4-5 fell Wednesday night. Wolf Creek is seeing light snow currently (4 in 24 hours). The incoming storm system will bring the highest snow totals to the southern San Juan ranges, which include Wolf Creek, Silverton, and Purgatory. Telluride will likely see lower amounts. Bottom Line: Good timing with the heaviest precipitation coming Thursday PM to early Friday in the San Juan Ranges (5-10 north of Durango with 7-14 near Wolf Creek Pass). Temps are not very cold, so the quality might be a bit dense at the bases. Temps are on the rise Friday so quality will be best early in the morning. Snow ratios decrease Friday (Less snow per inch of water). 

Below: Total snowfall for Colorado through midnight Friday. Highest amounts in the southern San Juan ranges, with 2-5 inches possible for the I-70 corridor, Rabbit Ears Pass, and central Colorado primarily late Friday AM to midnight. Both late Friday or early Saturday might offer some soft conditions up north while the southern resorts offer the best and deeper turns early Friday. 


From the San Juan Range winds will eventually switch from the SW to the W, NW over central or northern Colorado. This is likely to push some decent snow totals over the Grand Mesa (Near Grand Junction) with Powderhorn a wildcard. Light to moderate snow will be likely over Rabbit Ears Pass (Steamboat), I-70 corridor by late Friday AM into Friday evening. Convective snow bands might bring 2-6 inches to some resorts in central or northern Colorado including the higher elevations of Summit County for late Friday or early Saturday. 

In the Wasatch amounts unfortunately are going to be hit or miss. The models don't indicate any prolonged period of heavy snow. Light to moderate snow will occur late Thursday to Friday. Winds are light, poor orographic lift, and directions are all over the map (W, SW, S, NE, NW). Models show a general trend of 3-9 inches for Utah. Who will score? The highest precipitation rates in the form of rain might come west of the ski areas towards Tooele or the Nevada line. Ski areas favored in SW flow such as Snowbasin or Big Cottonwood would be my pick at this point for Friday. The ensembles show a wide variety of solutions from 3-5 inches to as much as 12. This is not going to be a significant storm but some outlier surprises could occur. 

Other areas of interest are the Tetons where light snow will be falling Thursday night into Friday. Moderate snowfall is possible for Big Sky with perhaps even heavier amounts to the east over Red Lodge Mountain Ski Area. 


For the extended outlook, decent snow totals are likely for British Columbia late this weekend. That system has cold air to work with and will trickle south into the Cascade Ranges of Oregon and Washington by Sunday night. This will work east impacting the northern and central panhandle of Idaho, portions of Montana, and eventually Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Selkirk Powder, one of our sponsors may score decent amounts late this weekend or early next week. Selkirk Powder still has some openings for Heli Skiing next week in the wonderful range just north of Sandpoint Idaho. 

Below: Decent snow totals are on tap for the Pacific Northwest early next week. 


Enjoy the powder everyone!  

Powderchaser Steve 

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