DEEP POWDER ALERT- TETONS, WASATCH, CENTRAL IDAHO, CENTRAL/NORTH COLORADO
Snow is falling over the Cascades this morning with 7 inches reported at Mount Baker and 4 inches at Stevens Pass. Light snow moved over the Rockies last night where the Tetons picked up 2-4 inches and a surprise 6-8 inches at Winter Park this morning (2-3 from yesterday). The north Sierra is getting a light round of 3-6 inches today which is just entering Truckee. The next 7 days will be very active with deep moisture, warmer temperatures and a very cold storm due on Xmas Day. Things might be deeper late this weekend versus XMAS however snow quality improves dramatically with colder air. Montana finally gets into the spotlight by mid week.
CASCADES: Roller Coaster snow levels this week with snow tapering this morning and picking up again Saturday morning. It may be falling heavily at the upper elevations from Crystal to Baker. 6-9 inches are likely Saturday AM above 4,000 feet (North Cascades are favored near Baker due to slightly colder air). Snow will turn to rain at the bases by afternoon and continue through Saturday night. Snow levels rise to just above 6,000 feet so areas at the upper mountain may do well (Crystal has some elevation advantages so Green Valley could benefit). Snow level drops again slightly on Sunday (5,000) with light or moderate snow continuing at upper elevations. Monday looks to be the best day of the pick where colder air takes over kicking off a new round of dry density snow for opening (3-6). Tuesday-Thursday brings in another round of 5,000 foot snow levels rapidly dropping to 2500 feet by Xmas Eve. Wednesday stands to be a the pick of the crop with storm skiing at all areas of the Northwest eventually tapering in the evening. Avalanche Danger will be rising rapidly with the “flip flopping” of snow levels and high winds.
ROCKIES Very active weather especially Sunday-Monday and again Wednesday-Friday. Atmospheric River event is setting to be over Central Idaho, Tetons and Wasatch as early as Sunday morning! Heavy snow will be falling over the highest peaks of Sun Valley, Stanley late Saturday night and impact the Tetons and Wasatch during AM Sunday. Snow levels will start at a respectable 5,500 feet in the morning and rise to 6500 in the north and 7,000 feet in the Wasatch. Snow continues heavily Sunday night/Monday with up to 20 inches in the Cottonwoods (Dense) and perhaps higher amounts at upper elevations near Snowbasin and Powder Mountain (Some rain mix at times at the bases). I think the Tetons will be in the 15-18 inch range by Monday morning. Snow quality may start out decent Sunday, gets heavier in the afternoon with a slight improvement Monday in the north (Tetons). Heavy snow will be falling in the Wasatch Monday where intensity over the Tetons turns moderate. Avalanche Danger will rise rapidly with the high water content of the snow and strong winds.
COLORADO Best impact will be Sunday late AM through Tuesday. Snow will be falling in the north as early as Sunday morning (Light) and turn heavier by afternoon (Steamboat might be a good early pick). Heavy snow will be falling Sunday PM and Monday over all of the central and northern mountains under Westerly flow ( Steamboat, Beaver Creek, I-70 and as far south as Monarch). Moderate snow will fall in the north San Juans. Colder air moves in Monday night enhancing snowfall under NW flow (Vail, Snowmass). The jet stream is directly over Colorado Tuesday morning (Heavy snow continues). Winds shift northerly late in the storm cycle so not surprised to see some snow along the Front Range Tuesday extending down to I-25 and Colorado Springs. Front range resorts like Eldora and Loveland could do well by Tuesday morning? Density will be lighter on Tuesday versus Monday but if you stick to upper elevations Colorado may stand to be the chase pick of the week? Best powder days will be Monday and Tuesday (Light density Tuesday).
XMAS: Details are emerging as the models show some variance. It is likely that the Cascades and Sierra will grab a cold storm on Wednesday which impacts Idaho, Montana, Xmas Eve. Density will be good! That storms hits the Wasatch on XMAS day and into Colorado later that morning or evening. The chase might be the Tetons, or Wasatch XMAS day and Colorado on Friday? Amounts will be respectable (6-12). Fluff factor will be high.