Dodge the warm temperatures early this week in the Northwest (Flip-flopping snow levels) and head inland to areas where temps will be colder and snow will be deeper. Western Idaho, Tetons, Wasatch, northern Colorado and anywhere within central and northern BC will deliver a New Years Resolution to ride powder.
The Northwest will be the wettest of all areas this week with significant warming spells followed by decent cooling. Rain will change back to snow Wednesday before changing back to a rain/snow mix in many areas Thursday. Later this week and into the weekend will deliver a classic PNW dump as temps cool Friday and will be cold by the weekend. If I were chasing powder, head inland to perhaps the northern Panhandle where elevations are higher and mostly snow will be falling for some pow for New Years. f you are stuck in coastal areas, Wednesday is your best bet in the short term with a change from Rain/Mank back to snow. Head back to the western Cascade range for the weekend with additional snow (High quality).
Interior BC will continue to see an increase in snowfall Tuesday (1-2 feet) for most areas favoring the central ranges near Revelstoke. Snow will ease somewhat New Years Day (PM) and continue lightly throughout the rest of the week. Alberta is likely to see lower amounts. Temps migrate from cool to cold this week so quality will be high. There will be windows of partial clearing this week followed by an increase of moisture late week.
For the Rockies in the lower 48, the best spots to find deep powder will be western Idaho (Brundage), Tetons, Wasatch, southern Montana (Wildcard- Big Sky), and the northern ranges of Colorado. New Years Day will be getting deep from north to south as a fast-moving system approaches New Year's Eve. The Tetons should see 3-4 inches for 1st chairs Wednesday morning and 7-10 inches by 5 PM. Additional snowfall is likely Wednesday night (3-5). The Wasatch will score powder in most ranges (North to south) New Years Day (5-10). You can ride powder by mid-morning at most resorts including Park City, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Beaver, Sundance, and all areas of Big or Little Cottonwood (Storm ski). Temps initially warmer will produce good bottom layers for the colder period under NW flow Wednesday night. Once the winds shift to the NW and the cold front settles in late Wednesday steady orographic snow showers are likely into Thursday morning favoring the Cottonwoods. The classic Utah storm comes in warm and finishes cold. 9-14 inches are likely for the northern Wasatch and Park City ranges, with 12-19 inches likely for the Cottonwoods by early Thursday (Combined AM and PM snow Wednesday-Thursday). Both Wednesday PM and early Thursday will be your best ride times in Utah. The northern Wasatch, perhaps Beaver, Snowbasin, or Powder Mountain may be deeper initially on Wednesday morning with moisture just beginning south of I-80.
For Colorado, the deepest snow is likely to land north of I-70 towards Rabbit Ears Pass. Expect 6-12 inches primarily Wednesday mid-morning through Thursday morning. The last chair Wednesday could be decent at Steamboat while snow will also be falling along the I-70 corridor. NW winds Wednesday night will favor Steamboat and the Gore Ranges near Vail. Thursday morning could deliver 5-10 inches along I-70 favoring resorts on the western side of the corridor (Copper, Vail, Beaver Creek). The northern San Juan range (Telluride) will be on the southern edge of moisture (3-6).
The PNW finally cools off this weekend. Snow will continue with increasing quality at most resorts. This could produce game-changing conditions for many resorts in the Cascade Range. That system seems to take a northerly route favoring the Montana, Wyoming, and perhaps northern Utah (Wildcard). Snow will increase again for interior BC during this period albeit lighter than the current storm. Bottom Line: Light or moderate refresh for the central and northern Rockies late this weekend or early next week.
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