Powderchaser Luke filling in once again. Wow. What a sick day at Snowbird. Northwest flow kicked in and dropped 7\ of 4% density snow on top of the 4 inches of dense snow that fell right after the lifts closed, resulting in a bottomless day with a storm total of 19\" Combine that with minimal crowds and it was one of the better days we've had in a while. First tram to reg., first tracks down Great Scott, first into one of the Baldy chutes, and 3 untracked runs in Mineral, including first into Chamonix Bowl. Whew, white room all day. Things will quiet down in most of the West for a few days as the storm track shifts north, targeting the PNW for the rest of the week. Beyond that, a truly great upper level pattern looks to be setting up in the second week of January and beyond. It might be time to start planning your chase.
I think there's a person in there.
There will be 2 main wavs of moisture for the Northwest over the next several days. There is a lot of moisture with these storms, but the snow levels will be high, so the summits will get buried while the bases will be dealing with rain at times, and snow at others. Coastal BC will likely wind up with the most snow, Whistler should wind up with 2-3 at the summit by Monday, with Mount Baker not far behind. Stevens Pass should see around 1-2 feet with Crystal likely receiving a little less. Snow levels will be high on Friday, somewhere between 4-5k. A cold front will move through Saturday though, and it should stay cold enough through Monday. Moisture continues through the weekend, perhaps heavy enough to chase on Sunday, especially Baker. Into early next week, another wave of moisture moves through, and some serious chaseable pow in the NW is possible. Northern Interior BC will see snow as well, favoring Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, and the northern Cat/Heli Ops, where a solid 8-16\" can be expected by Monday, with some favored locations seeing close to 2 feet,
The snow will move into Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Northern Montana as well, but not nearly as heavy as Coastal BC and Washington. Northern Oregon mountains should wind up with 10-20\" by Monday, while lesser amounts will fall the farther South you go. In N. Idaho and N. Montana, snow will fall Saturday and Sunday, totaling around 8-16\". Schweitzer should be the winner here, and will be on the higher end of those totals, while Lookout Pass and Silver will be in the middle of that range. Whitefish will likely be on the lower end of that range. Snow will continue into early next week there too. The Tetons will see some light to moderate snow too during this period, but nothing too big.
While the Northwest continues to catch up and build a solid base, our eyes turn to the long term, where a very favorable winter pattern looks to be setting up in the second week of January. Before the main course, we'll have sort of an appetizer trough moving into the Western US around the 8th. You can see the GFS and Euro are in decent agreement on that one.
(Images courtesy of Weatherbell)
This will likely result in some solid Winter weather. This pattern could deliver pretty big snows to the NW and most of the Rockies. YES! Then, for the entree, an even stronger, more anomalous (unusually strong/cold) trough is forecast to move into the West, around mid month. Look at the models below:
(Images courtesy of Weatherbell)
You can see both the Euro and GFS have a strong, deep, trough over the Western US. However, the exact location of this beast is still in question, as the GFS has it further West, and this can significantly affect who gets destroyed with snow. This is the type of upper level pattern that makes us drool. There will be significantly colder than normal air, and lots of moisture. Check out GFS temperature anomaly at 5k for mid month:
(Image courtesy of Weatherbell)
That's a lot of really cold air over the West! We're really excited for what's to come mid month. We'll have plenty of updates as we get closer!
For now, enjoy the appetizers, because the entree might just blow you away this time.