Today I scored an epic day at Stevens Pass in Washington where up to 15 inches fell overnight at a perfect density (Came in heavy and finished off light). The chase continues as I just landed in Reno and will be gambling the odds of lifts opening tomorrow in the Sierra with heavy snow and high winds (Winds might ease by late AM). The next few days looks to highlight the Sierra, central and southern Idaho, and the Wasatch range of Utah. The Tetons are going to do “Ok” Sunday/Monday and Colorado is our wildcard. My chase will take me through 3 or 4 States before coming to a close on Tuesday.
FORECAST: Snow is currently falling over Truckee as the leading edge of the next storm system is approaching the Sierra. Heavy snow and winds will crank over the Sierra Range (Northern Sierra Is favored over Mammoth however southern range will still do well) with up to 20 inches likely by mid day Sunday.
“You have to go for first chair tomorrow in the Sierra even though my gut tells me I will get shut down for most of the morning.” Last chair might be better as lifts spin that were on wind hold earlier or perhaps Tuesday AM for upper mountain openings (Could be epic). I would hoist an epic alert for the Sierra however ridge gusts of 100-125 tonight decreasing to 85 MPH late AM Sunday don’t meet the criteria. Snow will be light with low snow levels (Significant snow at lake level).
Chases will include Idaho and the Tetons Sunday and Monday. Moderate to heavy snow will be falling from Sun Valley north into central Idaho. Models favor the Sawtooths just north of Ketchum (12-15). We think Sun Valley could score 6-12 through late Sunday night however higher amounts are possible at the summit. Brundage could see similar amounts? The Tetons grab a quick 4-9 inches from 2PM Sunday through Monday morning (1st Chair Monday would be the call there). Snow will decrease Monday only to pick up again late PM through Tuesday morning (A sneak up powder day is possible with westerly flow – low moisture depicted on models but orographics and cold air could squeeze out another 3-7 inches of blower for Tuesday AM). Southern Montana also gets into the mix Sunday night with lighter amounts (3-6).
Utah will be hunkered down Sunday with strong ridge top winds (Most upper lifts will be closed). Cold air and heavy snow along and behind the front will fall Sunday night/Monday. Winds will remain strong and moderate somewhat Monday. Models show 8-11 inches by Noon Monday. Cold air should increase snow ratios so our forecast is in the 10-16 inch range for many areas by late Monday. Highest moisture on models may end up in the northern Wasatch at resorts like Snowbasin, Powder, or even Beaver in the Logan Valley. I think Park City will do well also! If you want to avoid the crowds it might be a good bet. 1st Chair Monday would be my chase pick.
Colorado is our wildcard! Models on the GFS show decent moisture (Less on the Euro) for the 4 corners for Monday morning. It’s possible that Wolf Creek scores 6-10 inches under SW flow initially late Sunday to early Monday. Its only moderate confidence at this point. Monday shows winds shift to the West favoring spots like Crested Butte (4-8). Steamboat is in our card of tricks! The Boat may score with the cold air orographics (Westerly winds) late Sunday night through Monday (Wildcard 5-9 or more). Monarch can also do well with westerly flow! Resorts closer to I-70 and East towards Eagle and Summit Counties will see lower amounts. It’s hard to nail down amounts but lets stick with 3-6 currently Sunday-Monday (Monday storm ski but it might be deeper late AM).
Confidence: High confidence for the Sierra 12-20 (Wind and heavy snow). Moderate confidence for Sun Valley (12 or more) with higher confidence for 5-12. High confidence for northern Utah (6-12) with moderate confidence for 12-17). High confidence for 4-9 inches Sunday night for the Tetons. Moderate-Strong confidence for 4-8 for most of Colorado with low to moderate confidence for 6-10 for the 4 corners Monday. Steamboat could offer a surprise?