Is it really October? Temps are going to plunge into the single digits at upper elevations by Tuesday night with record lows likely being set in many areas of the Rockies this week. Arctic air from Canada will plunge into the Rockies tonight through Wednesday and kick-off moderate snowfall for most of the Montana ski areas (3-6), the Tetons (4-7), Wasatch (4-7), and Colorado (6-12). The Wasatch may see higher amounts in the Cottonwoods due to good NW flow behind the front. Lake enhancement is possible. The system is not very moist so most ski areas in Utah should be in the 4-8 inch range with the exception of perhaps Little Cottonwood that will likely see higher amounts. Chase to Montana and the Tetons Monday night into Tuesday morning and the Wasatch primarily on Tuesday. If the ski areas were open in Utah we would be looking for last chair Tuesday.
In Colorado, I was mountain biking yesterday in Fruita with temps in the 50's while it was in the '20s on the east side of the Divide. The storm meandered over the Front Range on Sunday producing some decent amounts in Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, and areas north of I-70. I was questioning my 5-10 inch Summit County forecast as most resorts were not seeing any snow until late Sunday My forecast was generally 5-10 Sunday night near the Divide and 4-8 west. I mentioned the San Juan range may see some of the first snows of the season (2-5) who picked up the low side of that Forecast. The final numbers came in on the low side of the forecast.
Snow totals as of Monday morning in Colorado- Open Snow - Colorado Forecast
Rocky Mountain National Park: 6”
Berthoud Pass: 5”
Cameron Pass: 5”
Winter Park: 5”
Arapahoe Basin: 4”
Beaver Creek: 4”
Aspen Mountain: 3”
The next system for Colorado will be colder with the models showing another 5-10 inches likely for many mountain locations. The favored areas will be along the Divide once again. Snow will be falling from Steamboat, Aspen, Front Range, and south into New Mexico into Wednesday morning. The peak snowfall for Colorado will happen PM Tuesday to AM Wednesday.
The University of Utah SREF plumes below show an average of 10 inches for Berthoud Pass by late Wednesday.
The operational GFS shows some isolated pockets of higher amounts south towards Monarch. All ski areas including the San Juan range will see some snow from the approaching cold front. The highest amounts will be along the eastern Foothills and Continental Divide. New Mexico may also nab some freshies on this one.
If the model run below proves to be correct, there could be decent amounts in Aspen, Crested Butte, and areas west as well.
Remember it's early season! This low-density snow is going to have you feeling the bottom surface (Don't end your season this week).
Enjoy the powder!