[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]
Yesterdays chase to Breckenridge was met with a rock slide on I-70 that happened minutes in front of me. The right lane was blocked but I managed to skirt around the mess before traffic backed up behind me. “Breckenridge was deep fluff just above mid mountain (felt like 7-11)) and wind impacted above treeline” The wind created a layer of cake on the top surface with blower below it so if you sunk down it often had you fighting to get back on top! The Sierra will get deep through Saturday followed by other chase points being Utah and Wyoming. The Pacific Northwest will remain the Pacific North Wet for the next 7 days! Snow each day is likely with very rare low snow levels for mid April kicking in this weekend (2500 feet up north). Whistler has scored 19 inches in 7 days and will continue to see several 3-6 inch events through Friday.
Short Term Forecast:
The Cascades are still chase worthy especially near Mt Baker where snow levels have been slightly cooler. A decent fetch of moisture is aimed at most of the Cascade region through Saturday (Friday/Saturday might be best) as a persistent showery flow continues to pump light to moderate snowfall above 4500 feet. Another 5-11 inches is likely through Friday night.
Most attention this week is for The Sierra! Large storms with decent cold air for this time of year are rare in the Sierra. This storm is still intact and should be an excellent snow producer for most of the northern and southern mountains through Saturday night. Heavy snow breaks out Friday morning with 7500 foot snow levels (Wet snow on the mountains with rain likely bases or lake level). Snow intensity will be high so even with warmer temps it can drive snow versus rain to the bases during peak period of precipitation (Cooling during high intensity snowfall). Winds will likely be a factor Friday morning but could decrease by afternoon (Still wind holds are likely). There might be a decrease in precipitation by afternoon with resorts around the lake as moisture drops south over Mammoth.
Snow returns in earnest late Friday night. Snow level slowly drops (Right side up snow) and significantly cools by daybreak. Snow will be falling at all valley locations! First chair powder chase?
Saturday should deliver good quality with upper mountains on hold (Avalanche control, winds). Models show snow intensity quickly dropping off behind the cold front Saturday so while it will snow most of the day the intensity will be less. Heavier snow may still be falling over Mammoth Saturday as most moisture drops south. Don’t even think about Mammoth opening upper mountain since it’s not going to happen! Winds on Saturday will be dropping off behind the cold front but will still be in the moderate or strong category. Light snow showers will continue Saturday night. Sunday will offer new terrain openings and epic conditions as high pressure takes hold. Storm totals from Friday to Sunday should range from 2-3 feet in the northern Sierra to 3-5 feet at the highest summits of Mammoth.
The Wasatch and Tetons benefit Saturday/Sunday. Heavy snow will be falling especially over northern Utah under SW flow (Warm temperatures slowly cooling through the day). Wind holds are possible at higher elevations. Big Cottonwood (Brighton, Solitude) or even the northern Wasatch (Snowbasin, Powder) may see higher amounts initially with SW wind direction. The Wasatch should reap 7-11 inches by lift closing Saturday (Wet snow at the bases with quality increasing PM). Colder air moves overhead Saturday night with SW winds decreasing and shifting West or NW. Another moderate dump is likely for northern Utah Saturday night making Sunday perhaps my pick for quality (Additional 5-9). The Tetons grab snowfall beginning Friday afternoon and continuing into Saturday. Total snowfall should be 5-10 inches above 8,000 feet by your last chair Saturday. Significantly less snow will be found at the bases. Moisture in the Tetons may increase again Sunday late AM though the evening under cold West flow. There is a good chance of a sneak up powder day Monday AM (Jackson closed to the public- employees only). Targhee might be the one to watch! Central Idaho may also fare a good tease Friday/Saturday!
Colorado who scored the deep this week should grab better quality (Higher elevations) with leftovers aimed at the northern and central regions Saturday/Sunday. Models are pumping out 4-7 inches with perhaps higher amounts near Aspen or Crested Butte. Saturday begins with SW flow favoring resorts from Grand Junction and south (CB can sneak out powder under SW flow even though West is ideal). Winds shift to the NW on Sunday/Monday favoring resorts along I-70 or north. Snow showers are likely in these areas through Monday morning. More details on a future post
Snow showers continue in the Northwest early next week. There may be a break by Tuesday night. A teaser storm is likely for the Sierra early next week as well as mid week (Light snow for the northern Rockies). It’s possible another significant storm rolls into the Sierra by late next week and weekend with cold air!
— Powderchaser Steve