Summary: An active pattern will likely evolve for chasing powder by the weekend for the PNW with warming temps initially followed by a much colder pattern by early to mid next week. The models are not in agreement with some showing a very deep storm for the Sierra by Sunday morning and others much less. Storminess is likely to continue next week, especially in the PNW and Alaska.
The chase for powder ended today (Tuesday) at Vail Mountain where 8 inches of surfy snow fell from late Monday to early Tuesday. There was minimal bottom (Surf) with some faceshots and a stiff grabby layer that seemed to coat the surface. If you were not waxed for ultracold you were sticking big time. On Monday afternoon we rode 3\ from 2 PM to 3 PM while it was dumping with 0 visibility and lighter density. Tuesday was a perfect bluebird day with that surfy but grabby feeling (Perhaps it was the wax). Previously we rode Powder Mountain on Sunday with 10 inches of perfect-density snow. We were also just 10-15 cars away from the major accident in Glenwood Canyon Monday when an 18-wheeler crashed over the barrier onto our side of the roadway (East). Our 5 day powder total was near 70 inches (Jackson, Powder, Vail).
Below: Glenwood Canyon Monday morning completely shut down. We were just 10 cars behind this cab headed to vail (East). What a mess!
Below: Vail Bluebird powder day on Monday- Photo- @powderchasersteve
The extended forecast will likely bring a return to unsettled conditions for the west with my primary watch targeting the PNW, BC, Alaska, and perhaps the Sierra this weekend. Even at just 4-5 days out the American and European models disagree on amounts for the Sierra. The American GFS pushes a deep storm into the Sierra Saturday night with the Euro further north. However, the trend of the European model has been a bit more toward the GFS so it's likely that the Sierra will grab at least a moderate event from Saturday to Sunday. If the American GFS pans out this will be a deep storm for California.
Frost Advisory for the coast of southern California! It's pretty rare for NWS to issue winter weather highlights for the southern CA coast but here is what is currently posted.
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGENational Weather Service Los Angeles/Oxnard CA207 PM PST Tue Jan 31 2023CAZ340-341-346-347-357-010615-/O.UPG.KLOX.FZ.A.0001.230201T0900Z-230201T1600Z//O.NEW.KLOX.FR.Y.0009.230201T0900Z-230201T1600Z/San Luis Obispo County Beaches-San Luis Obispo County Inland Central Coast-Santa Barbara County Central Coast Beaches-Santa Barbara County Inland Central Coast-Ojai Valley-Including the cities of Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, Cambria,Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Lopez Lake, Nipomo, San Luis Obispo,Lompoc, Vandenberg Space Force Base, Buellton, Santa Maria,Oak View, and Ojai207 PM PST Tue Jan 31 2023...FROST ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 8 AM PST WEDNESDAY...* WHAT...Temperatures as low as 32 will result in frost formation.* WHERE...San Luis Obispo County Beaches, San Luis Obispo County Inland Central Coast, Santa Barbara County Central Coast Beaches, Santa Barbara County Inland Central Coast and Ojai
The period from this weekend to mid-next week offers several chase options. it's likely that the PNW (Northern Washington is favored) and western BC (Whistler) will grab some moderate snow with the interior of BC lower amounts. I'm not buying off on any single profound event just yet for the PNW this weekend but snow will be falling with snow levels in the 3-4K range. You could chase to Baker or Whistler for some snow however, totals might be on the moderate side before increasing perhaps next week. Whistler or Baker might be deeper.
The Sierra deserves watching with models advertising a strong storm for Saturday to Sunday. Winds will increase Saturday night from the SW so it's possible some impacts might be found at upper elevations on Sunday, The GFS shows 1-2 feet of snow whereas the European on Monday showed 0-5, and is now showing moderate snow (Leaning a bit towards a more bullish solution). We have to wait and see. My guess is that both models will take a middle-ground solution with 9-15 inches for Saturday to Sunday. Temps will start out on the warm side and finish colder on Sunday morning increasing the odds of lake-level snow. Winds crank on Saturday night decreasing slightly on Sunday (Lift impacts at upper elevations possible). This forecast will be updated once models come into agreement and confidence increases. Bottom Line Sierra: Some uncertainty on snow totals at the time, but a high chance of powder late Saturday and early Sunday.
Alaska ramps up snowfall for Alyeska this weekend with light to moderate snowfall each day beginning Friday and ramping up by Tuesday and Wednesday next week. There is colder air likely pushing snow levels to sea level early to mid next week with significant snow most likely Tuesday and Wednesday. Moderate snow this weekend will keep conditions great late this week into next as a stronger system approaches Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Sierra storm this weekend pushes east with snow developing for central and southern Idaho by Sunday night and pushing into Utah and Wyoming towards Monday. The models disagree on placement with the European showing better odds of decent totals for Southern and central Idaho, Wasatch, and the Tetons with the American GFS models pushing action further north in Idaho (I-90) with only a moderate dump for the Rockies. Colorado will also land some snow Monday PM to Tuesday with low confidence on totals being 7 days out (Models disagree on north or south). Bottom Line Rockies: Snow is likely to move into the Rockies by Sunday or Monday with amounts still uncertain (A bit more confidence in Idaho, Northern Utah and Wyoming).
Below: American model showing a very deep storm for the Sierra Saturday night (1-2 feet).
Below: European models show less snow for the Sierra but are leaning a bit more towards a bullish solution than on Monday when it showed 0-5. This model also shows a track further north favoring the Cascades of OR and WA, and BC. The fact that it's ramped up a bit leads to higher confidence of a moderate to decent storm for the Sierra this weekend. We need to watch this as the models are not in synch currently.
Below: Center of the low edging into northern California per the American GFS late Saturday night.
Below: European models showing the low a bit further north over Oregon with a bit less snow for the Sierra.
Below: 10K foot winds are in the 40s to 50 sustained with much higher gusts most notably Saturday night for the Sierra Range.
Below: Impressive cold front pushing into the PNW by Tuesday night could kick off some interesting snow totals even at lower elevations where snow might continue.
This forecast will be updated in the next 24-48 hours. Hopefully, you were able to score some powder last week or the weekend. Please support us with the swag store below, a donation or join our concierge program for direct contact with our forecasters for the deepest chases, and last minute information to get you to the deepest resort.
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