Report From: Powderchasers.com
The struggle for those chasing powder today is warm air that is pushing into the Pacific Northwest bringing higher snow levels with some exceptions over the East and central Cascades (Stevens Pass) where temps are still cold and moderate snow is falling. Whistler is reporting 11-15 inches overnight at the summit with strong winds so the gamble is “what will open” up top. THe safe bet this week is to consider chasing to the Sierra, central Idaho, Wasatch, and 4 corners (AZ, NM, CO, UT) through Sunday. The strongest of the 3 storms (3’s a charm) slams into the Sierra Sunday and takes a more northerly track over the Wasatch, grazing the Tetons, and may provide 9-15 inches for a good portion of Colorado early next week. Many areas of the 4 corners of AZ, NM, CO, UT will be the highest beneficiaries through Sunday.
SHORT TERM FORECAST
Significant snowfall will be likely over the Sierra in the next 5 days (3-5 feet) with storm #1coming in Wednesday night/Thursday AM. HIgh winds will impact lifts late Wednesday and perhaps early Thursday. Cold air will lower snow levels Thursday morning to lake level and winds will subside by mid morning. Amounts might tip the scales over the Sierra Crest (Kirkwood, Squaw, Sugar Bowl) at 8-15 inches and slightly less elsewhere. Mammoth should also deliver but don’t expect upper mountain to open until later Thursday or Friday. Snow showers will continue on Thursday especially AM. “Don’t expect blower but perhaps smooth and wind drifted butter with some light frosting on top”
Moisture splits from the main low late Wednesday/Early Thursday and heads towards central and southern Idaho, Wasatch, and Colorado. Models show decent fetch of POW over the Boise Mountains (Bogus Basin) extending into the Sawtooth range (Sun Valley). 6-12 inches is possible over these areas with the lower end extending East and south of Boise (Sun Valley- 6-8), and perhaps higher amounts near Boise or towards Brundage? Best time to nab powder will be last chair Wednesday or 1st chair Thursday.
The Wasatch grabs 5-10 inches Thursday AM with a decent cold front. The higher amounts may favor Big Cottonwood over Little Cottonwood with SW flow initially. Sundance towards Provo may also deserve watching. Storm ski Thursday and grab some light overnight powder for Friday AM.
The leftovers take a southerly track impacting Arizona (4-8), Wolf Creek Thursday night into Friday with moderate snowfall (4-9 Flag, 3-7 southern CO, 3-5 Taos). Central Colorado near Crested Butte and Monarch could deliver surprises under Westerly flow (3-8). Light snow will also be falling over northern Colorado but the extended looks bette with storm #2 and 3.
STORM 2: There will be a small window of clearing late Thursday before a stronger cold front takes a bullseye over the Sierra after midnight (early Friday morning). Strong winds and 2-3 inch per hour snow rates are likely in the morning with the passage of a quick moving cold front that should deliver another 9-15 inches in the entire Sierra range through Friday afternoon. Expect delayed openings due to winds early. Storm ski the terrain that is open (Lower angle wind protected areas). Winds may ease late Friday allowing upper mountain lifts to open? Thats the gamble of chasing pow!
EXTENDED: (STORM # 2 AND #3)
The Cascades including Whistler migrate to a colder pattern changing base rain to all snow Thursday morning through Friday. “I am seeing light or moderate amounts likely so if terrain opens Thursday or Friday that was closed previously there may be some good freshies to be had”
This system takes a southerly route over the 4 corners delivering moderate to heavy snow for most of Arizona, southern Nevada, southern Colorado and northern New Mexico late Friday through Saturday (Storm ski Saturday). Expect 5-11 inches in many areas. Snow will also be falling in most of the Wasatch and northern Colorado albeit lighter amounts under westerly flow (Good wind direction for most mountain ranges in UT and CO so good freshening in most resorts north of the 4 corners).
The 3rd system slams into the Sierra on Sunday/Monday. This system has the coldest air and longer duration. “I would not be surprised to see 15-25 additional inches for the Sierra through Tuesday morning”. That system takes a southerly route over the 4 corners with current models showing a decent push north into Utah and Colorado (Teton wildcard). This will land many chase opportunities from most of Utah, and Colorado next week.
The Rockies benefit nicely late Sunday night into Tuesday! Light or moderate snow may reach the Tetons late Sunday(Northerly edge). Moderate or heavy snow is likely for most of the Wasatch range Monday extending into Colorado (Statewide) during the day. Heavy snow is likely again in both central or southern areas of the 4 corners. Decent freshies will be available from northern Utah through most of Colorado and the 4 corners next week. Chases will be abundant from spots in Summit County along I-70 through to most of Utah and Arizona (4 corners). Best days to chase may be early Monday in the Wasatch and PM or 1st chair Tuesday for the most of Colorado. Models that far out can easily change however confidence is decent for a widespread event for many mountain areas.