We combine 35 years of experience forecasting and chasing powder to provide forecasts that help you find the deepest snow.
FEET AND FEET OF SNOW FOR THE NORTHWEST- 30-50 INCHES PLUS THROUGH SATURDAY. THE SIERRA REAPS REWARDS SATURDAY/SUNDAY2019-01-03
There is so much going on right now that I am on overload looking for the best chase! There is FEET upon FEET of snow falling in the northern Cascades and Coastal BC currently. Warm temps will bring rain to the central and southern Cascades today with a mix up north. Baker nabbed 8 inches last night with 32 degrees at the base. That will rise this morning with rain falling at lower elevations. Upper elevations through Friday night will see 20-30 additional inches of snow! Cooling occurs tonight with better quality on Friday (3500-foot snow levels to the bases). Avy danger will be rising rapidly as snow levels play games flip-flopping from cool/warm/cool/warm all weekend. If you're going to Baker bring your AVY gear as it may be required! Less snow will fall in the southern Cascades until Sunday when southern areas including Oregon may nab better rewards.
A solid contender for today as mentioned in my post yesterday is interior BC where 7-12 inches has fallen in the alpine last night (Cold temps). Some warming will occur today. Gnorm the Powder Gnome is going to get buried by late this morning!
MEGA dump is occurring (Not a snorkel alert due to dense snow) at Whistler. FEET of snow will continue to fall in the next 24 hours with warming Thursday followed by cooling late PM. Rain will be falling at the base. Additional snow will fall Thursday night/Friday under cooling conditions (Snow level below mid station). Chase-wise, it's a gamble with terrain openings, heavy snow and the luck of the draw you see the peak before Saturday or Sunday. Total snowfall through Saturday will be in the 3-5 feet range up top.
Below: Webcam at Whistler Thursday morning (Mainly overnight) and still dumping.
A manageable chase for today would be the northern Panhandle of Idaho where cooler conditions exist and 5-11 inches should fall today through this evening. Additional snow is likely tonight and again Sunday/Monday.
The Sierra grabs 10-15 inches of POW Saturday late AM through Sunday AM. It's a quick mover with lots of wind initially (Saturday). Chase time? The gamble is that 3-6 inches will likely accumulate during the late AM or early PM Saturday and another 4-8 falls overnight into Sunday morning. If wind holds Saturday keep upper lifts closed (Likely) you will get all the snowfall on Sunday.
The PNW gets another light to moderate storm on Sunday/Monday (Cooler). Moisture from the Sierra takes a southerly route over AZ late this weekend. Moisture will feed north into most of Utah under a southerly flow. It's possible that southern Utah reaps some good rewards Sunday. The GFS and Euro disagree! The GFS is optimistic for heavy snow pushing north into most of northern Utah and the Tetons late this weekend. The EURO is the pessimist with light snow for the Wasatch. I am siding with the pessimist currently. Moisture will feed into Colorado late Sunday night and Monday favoring the southern and central mountains. Crested Butte, Silverton, Wolf Creek, and even Aspen are contenders. Light snow will be falling over the I-70 corridor. Steamboat can sometimes sneak out surprises with southerly winds. Wolf Creek may end up seeing the highest amounts, however, this system is not overly deep by Colorado standards (4-9).
The PNW moisture Sunday/Monday will increase the chance for moderate or heavy snow for most of central or southern Idaho/ Tetons, Sawtooths (Sun Valley), and northern Utah under SW wind direction. The GFS is in the 9-15 inch range where the Euro is much less. I would expect 4-9 inches or more in favored locations by SW flow. That might include the Ogden mountains, (Snowbasin is favored with SW flow), Beaver, and the Tetons. Ride times will be Monday-Tuesday. Deer Valley or Park City (PCMR side) can sometimes sneak in some good numbers with this flow but its a wildcard. If the optimist GFS wins you will see 9-15 inches in many areas by Tuesday morning.
Where to chase? There may not be a single answer here. Wind and perhaps too much snow/rain may fall in the Cascades so you risk terrain closures. That may change by Saturday? Warm temps may also creep in by midday Saturday. The Sierra is a decent pick if the storm comes in later Saturday versus Noon or 1 PM? Further south may offer more overnight snow (Mammoth). The interior of BC is a solid choice for Thursday/Friday! Schweitzer may be a solid choice for the same period or late this weekend. Whistler may be all-time when the top opens this week. The Rockies are a solid choice but snow will be a bit dense. Even Sun Valley is on my outlook this week! Its one of those weeks where you may be in line for the best run of your life, or the biggest let down when terrain does not open.
More to follow in the next post.