1 storm is exiting the west in the 4 corners Tuesday morning while another strong system moves into the central and southern Sierra. That will kick off deep water totals for the San Juan Range pushing moderate periods of moisture into northern Utah, Wyoming, and Central Colorado. Very cold air by Thursday!
The previous storm performed close to our forecast with generally moderate totals for Northern Utah (8-14 inches). Alta ended up with 14 inches. NWS had very high numbers for that storm (20-28). Unfortunately, the storm came in pieces (7 overnight, 2 early AM, and 5 inches in the afternoon). Conditions at Snowbird where we sampled the goods for a few hours were good medium-density snow that provided nice face shots, and an evident bottom layer on steeper aspects. Medium-angle runs felt bottomless at times if you treaded lightly. Hike terrain skied very well.
The deepest pow fell over Eagle Point and Brian Head with 20-24 inches being reported as of Tuesday AM. another 7 inches fell for Park City Monday night and it's a bluebird powder day!
The next system for the Sierra will favor areas south of Lake Tahoe with perhaps 3-7 inches for resorts near the lake and 7-11 inches further south towards Mammoth and up to 2 or more feet for the southern Cal resorts outside LA (Baldy, Big Bear). Spring or winter? Ride Southern Cal for deep powder Wednesday morning followed by some surf on the ocean in the afternoon. Top that off with some sushi and you've scored the trifecta.
Below: The next storm favors areas from Mammoth to the southern ranges near Mt Baldy. Mammoth is on the northern end of the deepest totals. Southern Sierra could pick up 2 feet or more by Wednesday. Ride Powder, and surf waves all in the same chase. Click below for the lowest pre-season rates on the IKON pass for next season!
For the Rockies, it's a mixed bag with light snow noted for the Tetons (2-3 inches every 12 hours through Friday), perhaps a bit more reported on Thursday morning. The bottom line, is the Tetons are south of the moisture plume but conditions will soften each day and the sum totals through Friday will likely exceed 12 inches. Riding conditions will be fantastic but you might not get that shin-deep powder unless you are in the backcountry.
In Utah, the southern mountains get crushed in the next few days (30 inches plus) with the northern and central mountains grabbing several 9-11 inch events. The models average out to around .65 inches of moisture for the Cottonwoods through Wednesday morning so it's likely that snow reports range from 6-11 inches. NWS is going with higher amounts again and it's certainly possible. The only difference here is the American model is less optimistic while the European model is fairly bullish and the short-term models (NAM and HRR) are between just a 1/2 of water and around 3/4 of an inch. Additional snow will fall during the day Wednesday. Bottom Line: Good timing for the Wasatch late Tuesday to Wednesday with generally moderate totals of between 7-14 inches for the Cottonwoods, Sundance, and northern Wasatch (PowMow, Snowbasin, Beaver) and 5-11 inches for the PCMR area mountains. There is even a chance that the northern Wasatch range does even better or some surprises around Sundance. If the GFS proves accurate on this storm amounts could be less.
Below: Good totals will end up over the northern Arizona mountains (Snowbowl) through Wednesday morning.
Even deeper totals will be found in the southern mountains of Utah and Northern Arizona for Wednesday morning (12-20 inches).
For Colorado, it's a mixed bag of deep snow but warmer temperatures. Snow will be falling from Tuesday late morning to Wednesday afternoon. The system will drop 15-18 inches for the southern San Juan Range including Wolf, Purgatory, and Silverton with less noted for Telluride (5-12). Crested Butte and Aspen catch up very late Tuesday night or early Wednesday with snow continuing (9-15). This will favor the western side of I-70 once again towards Glenwood Springs, Sunlight, Powderhorn, and perhaps edge enough into Vail (4-7) and Summit County for a moderate tease. The temps are going to rise to around -1 or -2 C at 10K feet. That might bring the snow levels to 8,000 feet or higher and definitely bring surfy snow to most mountain ranges. Temps fall drastically Wednesday night with some lighter density snow showers continuing albeit lighter intensity. Don't expect blower initially with this storm!
Below: Total snowfall at upper elevations of the San Juan range is hefty through Wednesday evening with some decent totals noted in the central mountains near Crested Butte and Aspen. The European model shown here also has some decent numbers extending north into Eagle County (Beaver Creek, or Vail) so there is some hope of a moderate dump (Other models are a bit less confident). Summit County will likely see slightly less with another outlier for moderate snow for RMNP or WP noted just north of Summit County. Bottom Line: High confidence of a deep dense dump for the southern mountains, moderate amounts for the central regions, and low confidence for some decent numbers along I-70 or east of Vail. High confidence for some moderate totals from Aspen, and medium confidence for big totals on the eastern side. Southern storms are finicky and any deviation in the track will change everything.
Below: Colorado temps as high as -1, -2 C at 10K feet (rain or mixed precipitation below 7500) with the onset of this map on Tuesday afternoon with temps falling by late Wednesday afternoon as the bulk of the moisture is weaning. There is some hope of some drier density coating the cream late Wednesday into Thursday but amounts are not likely to be high.
In New Mexico, slow steady light periods of snow are favoring northern areas near Red River or Taos from Tuesday night to Thursday. The best days to ride are likely Wednesday or Thursday (5-11 inch storm totals slowly building).
A very cold air mass is entering the PNW by Thursday afternoon. Snow will break out (warmer air) ahead of the cold front for the Cascade ranges on Thursday for Oregon and Washington and increase with the colder air late. Models show winds from the SW initially with widespread snow for Oregon and Washington Thursday migrating to a more westerly colder pattern for Thursday night (Convergence zones are possible). Some decent numbers might be reported by late Thursday or early Friday in the PNW. Cold air will be entering the Rockies by Thursday night with additional drier-density powder likely favoring the Northern Rockies. Northern Idaho including Selkirk Powder Guides will also grab some freshies late this week. Selkirk Powder still has some seats on the Cat this month and cold temps and powder will only freshen the terrain.
Below: 4800-foot temps (Just above the bases in WA) will plunge to -8C by Friday morning with snow levels around 700 feet above sea level.
Below: Strong cold front plunging 10K temps to -17C (1.4F) by Friday morning in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Some valley locations might struggle to get out of the single digits. BRRR- Spring has sprung but winter is in full force.
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See you on the first chair Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and perhaps Saturday.