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POWDER ALERT-TRICKY CHASES-WIND-WARMING-COOLING BLOWER FINALE

Good afternoon everyone.  The last 48  hours has brought some significant totals to the west. Targhee had 11 inches new on Friday with Park City and Powder Mountain in the 20 inch range in the past 48 hours.  The Cottonwoods are coming in with similar totals and with so much wind it's a bit hard to verify in some locations. LCC opened around 10 AM Saturday with Snowbird still on hold for the upper lifts. Winds will continue strong through the next storm cycle. 

Here are a few other big snow totals. 

Pomerelle ID- 24 inches 

Beaver Mountain- 13 inches (24 hours) and 22 inches in 48 hours. Beaver supports us so in times where some resorts are closed, or you want to simply avoid the crowds head up and support them (Family run, affordable, decent terrain, experience blue jeans and powder). 

The next 2 days will feature a very moist warm system (AR) clashing with a cold front in the Oregon Cascades on Saturday (12-17 inches of snow). The Sierra also sees similar totals with relatively high snow levels and plenty of wind (Not a great chase for Saturday in the Sierra). The Sierra will peak from 2PM Saturday to early Sunday. Winds will be extreme at the ridge tops decreasing by mid morning Sunday. Not a great chase. 

My chase today was to choose a lower elevation and wind protected area of Park City Mountain Resort (Canyons side) where conditions were fantastic (Much better than I expected). I was on the first Gondola and quickly made it to some decently steep terrain (10 inches Friday with another 10 overnight for Saturday turns).

Powder Mountain remained closed on Friday so I imagine it skied well on Saturday with some wind impacted snow (Very windy on telemetry). The next 2 days will feature everything Mother Nature has in the book from high winds, warming followed by cooling, deep snow, and guaranteed Inter Lodge for LCC. Chases in the Cottonwoods will be risky due to many red flags, but ultimately the grand finale when things open at the end of the storm cycle Monday or Tuesday it will be epic. Sunday might also be a score if areas open. 

Colorado scores big time Saturday night to Sunday night, with snow lingering into Monday. 

The bottom line chase:  

Oregon is going to score on Saturday with a cold frontal boundary pushing cooler air east along the Cascades and warmer air further west (Freezing rain at lower elevations of the metro areas). The short-term models show snow increasing significantly on Saturday with an additional 12-17 inches. The highest totals will be found in the central and southern regions (Mt Bachelor) but areas north to Timberline will be close behind. 

Below is the total additional snowfall for Oregon on Saturday. Very healthy numbers favoring the central and southern regions. North will be close behind. That moisture digs into the northern Sierra. 

For the Rockies, snow intensifies Saturday afternoon (Winds decrease slightly Saturday morning) through Sunday. Winds for the Wasatch increase again through Sunday morning. Temps will be rising with warmer air to our west pushing out the cold airmass currently in place. Snow densities increase (AVY concerns for Sunday) as 12-18 inches of medium to dense snow pile up in the Wasatch by Sunday morning.  Road closures are assured in the Cottonwoods. Winds will also be strong Saturday night (Gusts in the 80's or higher at 10K). 

This is one of those storms where you might consider lower elevations like DV, PCMR, Beaver, Powder, Sundance, or perhaps BCC. I think the upper terrain in BCC and LCC will be very limited on Sunday if anything opens. Quality improves with some colder temps midday Sunday or PM. 

Colorado looks to be a good chase with slightly less wind and a very good chance of 7-12 inches Saturday to Sunday morning, with an additional 4-9 during the day. 

Below: The track of Precip moving into Central Oregon Saturday morning and the northern Sierra (7-15). Washington and areas north are getting missed. Southern Idaho could do well as well as the Rubys in Nevada extending to the Wasatch and most of Colorado by Sunday evening. This map is from Saturday to late Sunday. 

Below: 2.5 inches of water for Utah (Cottonwoods) and nearly 1.5 inches for PCMR additional through Sunday morning. That is 25-30 plus in the Cottonwoods and roughly 15-20 additional inches for Park City through Sunday AM. Additional snow will fall Sunday through Monday (Colder and better quality). Snow densities are on the dense side Saturday night and early Sunday before migrating to drier Sunday PM to Monday. Snow showers might peak again Monday with another quick moving wave. Winds are an issue Saturday PM, Night, and early Sunday. Avalanche danger will rise significantly. 

Below: Impressive moisture totals for Colorado through Sunday night. Nearly 2 inches of liquid near Steamboat, 1.25 inches for Summit, Vail Pass, and even Crested Butte showing high totals. West flow might favor the western I-70 corridor initially, especiallY Beaver Creek where I expect 5-9 inches for first chairs Sunday and up to 20 inches by Monday morning.  Steamboat is likely going to report bigger numbers Saturday morning with others catching up Sunday/Monday. SW flow initially Saturday night might bring some good totals to Crested Butte and the Aspen area mountains. Telluride will also score with NW flow by late Sunday night. I would stage near Glenwood and chase from there. 

There are no losers in Colorado aside from lower totals in the southern San Juan range. The snow density might be a tad heavier than fluff, but that is exactly what we need right now. This would be a good chase for Sunday and Monday as snow showers continue in colder NW flow later in the storm cycle. 

Bottom line: Tricky chase. Wind and warming Saturday night followed by a cooling trend Sunday PM. Quality might be primo by late Sunday or Monday. Tuesday might offer new terrain openings!  Peak precipitation in the Rockies will be from Saturday PM to Sunday PM. Another fast-moving wave is noted for Utah on Monday. Chase low initially and then get rewarded at upper peaks by Sunday or Monday. 

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Enjoy the powder, everyone! Remember, your deepest resort is not always the best chase. See you in the first chair somewhere on Sunday. 

Powderchaser Steve - @powderchasersteve on Instagram 

 

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