Major waves of winter precip will continue to push into the western US this week, bringing the biggest storm cycle of the season so far. Considering the multitude of regions where this pattern will bring copious amounts of snowfall, this post will break the forecasts down by regions.
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Here are a few total as of 7AM MST Wednesday
Mt Hood Meadows 22 inches
Alpental 19 inches
Stevens Pass 17 inches (36 in 48 hours).
Sunday River: 15 inches
Wildcat 14 inches
Targhee 12 inches
Solitude 11 inches
The Pacific Northwest will likely be the chase target this week, with several FEET of snow falling at most resorts. Best chase opportunities will be central and southern Washington Cascades and Oregon (from Stevens Pass into Oregon)
Light lingering snow will continue in Washington and Oregon on Wednesday before a more major push of moisture arrives early Thursday morning and will progressively work its way south over the course of Thursday into Friday morning. Temperatures will be cold with snow levels well below the bases of all resorts, meaning snowfall for the entirety of this system.
Models are indicating a major surge of snowfall will arrive on Friday afternoon, targeting southern Washington and northern Oregon. Snowfall rates will likely exceed 4” per hour at Crystal and Mt. Hood on Friday afternoon and night. Saturday will be an incredible day for skiing; between Friday and Friday night, Alpental is looking at 10-20”, Crystal is looking at 18-25”, Hood is looking at 20-35”. All of these seem decently conservative. I think there is a decent chance that totals could exceed these values, but it is always better to forecast on the lower side. Below is the ECMWF and GFS models showing 24 hour snowfall of the Friday surge in Washington and Oregon. The GFS has a bit more in Washington, but both models agree on northern Oregon getting hammered:
Strong snowfall will continue on Saturday and will bring double-digit refills during the day in the central or southern Cascades of Washington.. By Sunday morning, the storm will be mostly wrapped up with just lingering snowfall in higher terrain.
Final storm totals from Thursday to Sunday will range from 30-70” with the highest totals likely at Mt. Hood.
Below is the storm total average of 51 configurations of the European model showing huge totals in Washington and Oregon by Sunday. If anything, these are likely underestimated:
The same systems bringing major snowfall to the PNW will also hit California. This pattern will bring two waves, a major one on Wednesday and minor one on Saturday.
Snowfall will start early Wednesday morning and last through the evening. Snow levels will be well below resort bases for the duration of the storm and snow ratios will be good for low-density snow.
Totals will be mainly concentrated around Tahoe (not Mammoth) and will be in the 10-20” range with potential for slightly more along the west Lake Tahoe Sierra Crest (Sugar Bowl, Palisades, Kirkwood). Below is the multi-model blend depicting Wednesday storm total:
Storm #2 on Saturday will likely bring more moderate accumulations. Models are still all over the place, but likely in the 5-10” range at most.
The current storm in Utah (8-13 by Wednesday mid morning) will likely bring another 9+ inches on Wednesday night, adding to an already superb storm total. There will be a slight lull before things pick up again on Friday night. Saturday is looking like it’ll be an incredible day of skiing with extreme snowfall rates throughout the day and the night, making Sunday another deep day.
There is a slight warm-up in the models on Saturday, which will make the snow a little heavier, but not enough to make a significant impact on this storm. Avy danger will be increasing with the snow loading plus the period of denser snow.
The US multi-model blend below is pure eye candy...
LCC totals from Thursday to Sunday should exceed 40-50”. Incredible system ahead…The warming on Saturday might increase avalanche danger and present some likely canyon closures.
The Tetons are looking at a major storm from Thursday night/Friday until Saturday night. The best day for deep snow will be Saturday; double digit overnight totals from Friday night are likely with much more during the day on Saturday. Targhee is likely looking at a storm total of 25-35” and Jackson will pick up 20-30” with good odds for both resorts to exceed these ranges (Widespread 2 foot totals or more).
This system will also see moderate snow in southern Montana, although storm totals are unlikely to exceed 15”.They can use anything they can get right now.
Colorado is also looking at major snowfall, much more spread out than the other regions. In the shorter term, some decent totals will come out of Steamboat on Wednesday (5-11) with the I-70 corridor and areas picking up 5-10 inches on Thursday. Chase north to south (Wednesday to Thursday). Bigger totals in Colorado will fall from Friday night through Sunday night. Steamboat will likely see 18-25”, I70 resorts will pick up 10-15”, central mountains (Aspen, CB) will see 10-20”, and southern mountains (Wolf Creek) will pick up 5-10”. WOO HOO.
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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.
The Powderchasers Team.