This post will be separated into two sections; one covering some statistics about the absolutely legendary winter so far this season in the west, and the second section going over the 7 day forecast.
What a season it has been!
The big news of the week is that Alta and Brighton both just crossed 700” on the season. Snowbird and Solitude aren’t far behind, with around 650” each. With another active pattern ahead, it’s very possible that they also cross 700” by the end of the month. To put this in perspective, Alta’s 714” season total is the third deepest on record, behind just 2010-2011 (724”) and 1981-1982 (748”). This season will pass 2011 very soon, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the 1982 snowfall record will be in jeopardy.
California is also obviously doing incredibly well, with most mountainous regions sitting with a snowpack depth 2-3 times the average.
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Snowpack levels are near record, and in the south, have eclipsed the previous record of 1982-1983.
Basically everywhere in the West will get snow this week. A large swath of moisture associated with a fairly unorganized storm system will slowly sweep through through the end of the week and the weekend. A more organized atmospheric river storm system will hit California on Tuesday, which should also bring respectable accumulations to Utah and Colorado.
A storm will sweep through the Pacific Northwest starting midday Thursday. Snow levels this week will not be a concern this week, hovering well below ski resort base elevations.
As mentioned before, this storm is fairly unorganized. The moisture is coming from due west, and the best powder chasing opportunities in the PNW will be found in Oregon and southern Washington. The best target looks like Mt. Hood. However, everywhere is looking fairly good.
Precipitation ramps up in the region on Thursday afternoon. Some resorts could pick up a few inches during the ski day on Thursday, especially in Oregon and southern Washington, but no major accumulation during the day is expected. Strong moisture continues overnight and shifts slightly further north by Friday morning. Thursday night looks like it’ll bring 5-9” for Bachelor, 6-12” for Mt. Hood, 4-8 at Crystal, 5-10” for Stevens and Snoqualmie Pass, and 3-6” for Baker.
Moderate to heavy snowfall will continue during the day on Friday, providing free refills all day. Friday night is going to bring some really nice snow with 10-15” at Mt. Hood and 1-3” in Washington. The one exception will be Snoqualmie Pass, where the convergence band is forecast to set up right over. This should crank out 4-8” of overnight snow by Saturday morning. Lingering snow on Saturday and Sunday will bring another few inches to resorts this weekend, keeping things fresh. Quality will be high.
After receiving some solid snow overnight, Utah is gearing up for the second wave of this storm. This will last from Thursday night to Saturday morning and will bring a slow burning but steady stream of snow that will steadily push resorts towards record numbers.
Thursday night will bring 2-5” across the state, which will be a nice fresh layer on top of an already sweet storm total. Heavy snowfall will continue on Friday; I see 4-8” for the Cottonwoods, 3-5” for Park City and Deer Valley, 2-5” for northern Utah, and 2-5” for southern Utah.
On Friday night, the Cottonwoods and PC/DV are looking at 3-5”, northern Utah at 2-4”, and southern Utah a trace to 2”. Things settle down on Saturday morning, with lingering showers bringing a bit more extra snow as the cherry on top.
The main push of moisture for Colorado will arrive a bit later on Friday night. Overnight totals in the 6-10” range at Steamboat, 1-3” for northern CO/I-70 resorts (4-9” likely at Vail), 2-5” in central Colorado (6-10” at Powderhorn), and 1-4” for southern CO.
Most of the moisture stays further north than Colorado, so this system will be short lived. Lingering showers on Saturday AM will keep things fresh but will not bring much more accumulation.
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The Intermountain West will also score big this week.
Thursday night will see 3-6” totals in southern Idaho (Tamarack, Bogus, lower totals at Sun Valley). 1-3” for the Tetons (Targhee on the upper end of that range, Jackson Hole on the lower end). Friday day will see light snow scattered around the region.
The moisture will slide further east on Friday night. This is going to bring 3-6” of overnight snow to the Tetons, and 5-10” for Big Sky and Bridger Bowl. Bridger will be the chase target on Saturday, where low wind speeds mean that they should be able to get the upper terrain open after avalanche control.
Light snow will continue on Saturday and Saturday night, bringing 2-5 additional inches to resorts around the region.
Looking past this week, most medium range models have a powerful storm system sliding into California on Tuesday morning. It’s too early to pin down totals for this storm, but it’s looking cold and wet, which is a great recipe for snowfall!
This storm will take a pretty far south storm track and bring solid totals to California, Utah, and Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. The PNW, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana should still score snow, but not nearly as much as regions to the south.
Powderchasers Forecast Team