Southern Cali is getting blasted. The northern Sierra gets a reprieve with additional feet in the forecast. The Cascades get deep with the northern and southern regions of the Rockies on tap for next week. Take your pick of a multitude of resorts to find the \White Room\" Many chases to ponder! Keep your snorkels out.
Forecasting powder is more difficult when nearly every region in the west from Southern California through Canada will see deep snow. The trick is to avoid areas that may see too much snow in a short period and essentially shut down. That was the case with Mt Baldy on Friday, however, per the tweets, there is some hope.
We managed to grab gold last week with 52 inches on 3 days of riding chasing from JHMR (22) to Snowbird (25) and a country club day at Sundance Friday morning (10-12).
Below: Powderchaser Steve was on the first chair at Sundance early Friday morning (far left) with a sneak-up double-digit blower day (Country Club). Photo: @powderchasersteve via Instagram.
Below: Mt Baldy in Southern California tweets from Friday. So much for the webcams on the last tweet.
Below: The University Of Utah Ensembles show an intense period of snow Saturday for Mt Baldy with my hopes of anything opening slim (We shall see). The Southern California range could see an additional 30-50 inches of which some would have fallen Friday night. Sunday or Monday might be the day to get out, and don't forget your snorkel. Below is additional snowfall for Baldy that tapers mid to late Saturday (The Saturday report will be deep from Friday night).
For the Sierra ranges, the deepest totals on Saturday will come from the southern regions south of Mammoth (Mammoth might see a slight window to open some areas that were closed on Friday). Mt Baldy, Big Bear, and Southern California are all at the center of attention (Heavy snowfall Saturday AM). Additional snowfall fills into the southern Sierra pushing a bit further north including Mammoth late Saturday night into Sunday reaching as far north as the southernmost areas of Lake Tahoe (Kirkwood) for some freshies Sunday morning. Areas along I-80 will see light snowfall initially.
The central and northern areas of the Lake will benefit from a powerful storm system entering the PNW Saturday night that drops along the coast bringing 2-4 additional feet to the core of the Sierra Ski areas (Lake Tahoe Region) Monday -Tuesday. Temps will be a bit warmer bringing snow levels back up to 2500 feet (Very high-quality storm). The deepest turns might come for either Monday or Tuesday next week. Significant snowfall will be falling at Lake Level- Bottom Line Sierra: Chase to the south on Saturday and gamble that Big Bear or Baldy will open (Big Bear has higher odds). Mammoth Mountain will be deep with an outside hope of some upper mountain terrain opening. Very good high-quality storm for the core of Lake Tahoe including Mammoth for Sunday night to Tuesday (2-4 additional feet) for many ski areas by late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Snorkel Alert!
Update: Mammoth Mountain snow report as of early Saturday- 46 inches in 3 days!
Below: The National Weather Service has thrown out nearly every type of advisory issued for the coastal areas near San Francisco. There is a winter storm warning posted for the Santa Barbara mountains in southern Cal. As snow lovers, we all love these colors.
With so much going on, the focus of the forecast will be areas to chase deep powder. The Pacific Northwest will do very well from late Saturday night to late Monday. The focus of the deepest snow will land from Mt Baker to the I-90 corridor including Stevens Pass. This has perfect snow densities coming in a bit warm and finishing cold. The timing is best at Mt Baker for overnight pow for Sunday (12 inches) with a bit less further south towards Stevens (6-9 overnight for Sunday turns). While the timing is not perfect, snowfall on Sunday will ramp up storm totals (Storm ski) for Baker and areas south towards Stevens and perhaps the I-90 resorts near Alpental (12-18). 4-11 inches is likely to be further south of I-90 near Crystal with some of the higher estimates possible for northern Oregon. Bottom Line PNW: Great snow quality, 60/40 split on overnight versus day snow Saturday with the exception of Baker who will likely have double digits by 8 AM Sunday. Stevens would be my 2nd pick. Storm ski from Baker to Crystal on Sunday as snow continues to pile up. Northern or central regions will fare better than the south. Decent snow totals will also fall towards Whistler on this storm, especially for Sunday morning. Additional moderate to heavy snow will fill in for most of the southern Washington Cascades (Crystal, White pass) extending into most of Oregon for late Sunday night-Tuesday. There will be several waves of energy with some decent totals possible over the beginning period of next week. BC will fare well this weekend into early next week (Interior and coastal).
Rockies and Idaho
Elsewhere in the west, the strongest energy from the PNW drops into the Sierra range Sunday-Tuesday (Mentioned above) while another wave spreads energy east into Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah for late Sunday to Tuesday. There are 2 waves of energy, with the first being weaker for some moderate snow for western and eastern Idaho, Northern Idaho (Selkirk Powder Guides) for Monday.
The Tetons grab moderate snow beginning Sunday morning and continuing into Monday morning (5-10).
In Utah, the models have been consistent with storminess beginning Sunday through early Monday favoring the northern Wasatch ranges near Logan or Ogden (Beaver, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain). There is likely going to be less snow in the central Wasatch initially Monday morning with heavier bands beginning to fill into the I-80 and south zones (Park City, Alta, Brighton, etc.) from mid-morning to afternoon. It's a tough call to head north or to gamble on storm skiing for Monday further south. Many resorts in Utah might land 9-18 inches by Tuesday morning with 50/50 from Monday and overnight into Tuesday. The northern areas of the Wasatch might see higher totals for Monday morning versus overnight into Tuesday. The Cottonwoods might catch up by your last chair Monday. Tuesday morning will see additional snowfall in Utah with some decent totals (Monday/Tuesday) in the 12-20 inch range (48-hour totals).
For Colorado the models are bringing light snow to the western I-70 corridor as early as Monday morning, ramping up a bit for Tuesday. This event seems to stay on the moderate side, with perhaps some higher totals noted for Crested Butte, Snowmass, or Steamboat. Light or moderate snow is likely along the core of the I-70 corridor but nothing pops out as significant. The extended forecast is deeper!
Below: Total snowfall at 10:1 (Amounts will be higher with the colder temps) from Sunday morning to Wednesday morning. You can see the decent totals for British Columbia this weekend extending into the PNW Sunday/Monday and really ramping up deepness for the Sierra Range early next week. A secondary wave impacts the Northern Rockies from Sunday night to Tuesday focusing on many areas of Idaho, the Tetons, and the Wasatch. You can see the southern areas of CA, and regions of Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, and southern Colorado ramping up by Wednesday at the end of this loop (Energy ejecting from California and dropping south).
Below: The University of Utah Cottonwood Forecast (Only looking at the American Model) is showing a steady stream of several waves of snowfall from Sunday to Thursday. You might see a steady chug from mid-Monday to Tuesday with additional moderate waves on Wednesday/Thursday. This graph is depicting 25-inch totals by Wednesday morning with my forecast indicating amounts could exceed this. There might not be any single 12-hour blockbuster dump, but the sum totals are great and from a snow safety aspect likely pretty manageable.
The significant snow producer for the Sierra Monday/Tuesday drops south into the 4 corners by mid-next week. This will ramp up snow totals for the southern mountains of Utah, northern Arizona, and the San Juan ranges in Colorado by mid-next week. Some totals could be impressive though Thursday morning with some light or moderate snow continuing for northern Utah and areas of Colorado. I would expect chases to be focused from Arizona, Southern Utah, Southern and central Colorado, and eventually northern New Mexico (Taos).
Below: You can see the deep low over the Sierra early to mid-next week drop south centered just south of Utah over Arizona by late Wednesday. This will shift the attention to the southern Rockies at some point by the middle of next week. Another low is noted at the end of this loop to enter the BC Coast and perhaps the PNW. The Rockies might bet a break late next week.
Conclusion: There is so much going on it's impossible to pinpoint every deep area. Chases might be safer in areas with a bit less snow but when things pop it will be epic. You can chase from the Sierra Saturday to the PNW Sunday, and the Rockies on Monday or Tuesday. Yet, the Sierra will be getting mega deep again early to mid next week. The southern areas of Utah, Colorado, northern Arizona, and New Mexico might be the deepest bets mid to late next week.
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See you on the first chair Sunday
Powderchaser Steve - Forecaster