This is not an easy forecast with lots of uncertainty and at the same time opportunity to score a sneak up powder day at some unusual spots. I am focussing on Utah and Colorado for the weekend, perhaps even Friday for some areas of the Wasatch, Tetons, and northern Colorado. Warm temps really frustrate me, with snow/rain mix likely below 7,000 feet this weekend. My chase decision might not take place until within 6 hours of game time. Aim for Utah or Colorado this weekend and perhaps some leftovers in the Tetons.
Snow is continuing in the Tetons today (DITTO) that similar to yesterday intensifies during the day (3-7). Temps are still warm but confidence for fewer crowds (Little overnight snow) and heavy snow currently falling in the Tetons. It looks like Grand Targhee is winning the game as of 7 AM with 5 inches since 4 AM. Get out now and ride storm powder today (Warm side). Cooler temps tonight and Friday will bring my forecasted frosting of cold freshies (3-5) for your 1st chairs tomorrow. I can't remember the last time the Tetons did not report some snowfall within a 24 hour period. It's' going to continue this weekend (Saturday-Sunday) albeit light.
Confidence is high for moderate Wasatch snow Thursday PM to Friday (3-7) that's a bit on the boring side. Most of that snow will fall above 8,000 feet in the Cottonwoods. Remember I mentioned some sneak up powder opportunity? I may be completely wrong, but keep an eye on Beaver Mountain who may benefit from a bit more moisture on the northern border near Idaho. My gut tells me that they could score but its a gamble. Snow in the Wasatch weans late Friday into Saturday (Light snow), but picks up again Saturday mid-morning to Sunday. I would aim for riding powder late Saturday and early Sunday. It's not going to be an epic overnight or 6-hour dump, but a continuous flow of moisture aimed at resorts along or south of I-80 (2-3 day totals in the 9-15 inch range above 8,000 feet favoring the Cottonwoods). Conditions will improve as the weekend progresses. Some models show higher totals south of Utah County into the Provo area. Keep an eye on Sundance (Another wildcard).
Below: University of Utah SAEFS Plumes for Alta showing good confidence on 4-7 inches for Friday morning with totals climbing to 16-18 inches by late Sunday (Lower confidence in the models on the latter period). The 16-18 inches includes the snow from Friday so expect another 8-10 inches from midday Saturday to late Sunday.
In Colorado, snow levels remain on the high side bringing denser snow at the lower elevations and perhaps decent snow up high. You best chase for Thursday to Friday will be Rabbit Ears Pass (Steamboat) with a wildcard for Aspen. Most of the moisture looks to be hung up near the Wyoming border so Steamboat will edge out the southern edge tonight. My best guess is 5-10 inches at the summit and 0-3 inches at the base (This sounds like a Sierra Forecast huh). The NAM brings some of that snow into the northern mountains Thursday (2 inches at the Steamboat stake this morning), so late today may also be decent. Elsewhere in Colorado light snow will be falling into Friday in the range of 2-4 inches along I-70 and even south into the central mountains. The weekend sees an increase of snowfall for most of Colorado (Widespread) especially late Saturday morning to Sunday. Late Saturday to early Sunday will ensure powder for many areas (Still on the warm side). Highest amounts will fall from Steamboat south to Aspen, with even greater amounts possible in the Gunnison area (Crested Butte). Vail Pass and areas on the western side of Summit should score an inch or moisture (10 inches of snow) by Sunday morning (combined Saturday/Sunday). Higher snow totals will be found in the above-mentioned areas. Snow will also be decent further south towards Telluride and even Wolf Creek albeit a bit lighter than the northern areas. Some colder air will work into Steamboat late Saturday or early Sunday and may work further south if you're lucky. It's not cold but cooler than the warm mank you may see at the base for Friday. More on the next post with some uncertainty still in the models.
Elsewhere in the Rockies light decent quality snow will be falling in Montana from Whitefish to Big Sky (3-7) especially late Thursday to Friday. Some sneak up powder is likely in these areas with colder temps.
The Sierrawill grab, yet another storm this weekend beginning late Friday or early Saturday. Once again, slightly warm (6500-foot snow levels) with snow falling through Sunday. Expect another 9-15 inches favoring the southern Sierra (Mammoth). Higher amounts will fall at the summits. Best days to ride will be late Saturday and early Sunday.
The models keep scattered snow showers in the Wasatchfor Sunday/Monday. In Colorado,the GFS keeps moisture going for Sunday/Monday and even Tuesday. It's possible that Colorado scores another powder day for Monday morning favoring the I-70 corridor (3-6). Scattered snow showers may continue at times into Tuesday.
High pressure may work into most of the west early next week with the ensembles showing a return of decent moisture for the Sierra and a wide area of the Rockies at some point mid to late next week. It appears to be an active period.
Below: Ensembles for late Wednesday night showing an increased chance of a trough setting up over a wide area of the west.
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