HAPPY HOLIDAYS POWDER LOVERS!
SYNOPSIS: The last several days have been full of surprises that brought a White Christmas to many folks in the Rockies. Beaver Creek nabbed a sneak up powder day with 12-16 inches this morning completely off our radar! The Tetons, central Idaho, and the Wasatch reaped deep rewards at upper elevations. Snowbird logged 2 feet in the past 48 hours. I was at Snowbird this morning pleasantly surprised on how well conditions have shaped up in the past week. The next several days will bring significant snowfall to the Northwest eventually moving into the Rockies by late Saturday night and hauling along very cold temperatures that settle into the West next week.
CASCADES/ IDAHO: Light snow tonight will turn heavy by mid Saturday morning and continue overnight. Expect 9-16 inches at most resorts (north and south Cascades) with 11-20 inches possible over Stevens Pass due to Convergence zones forming over the Puget Sound. Best time to ski will be Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. Light snow will linger into Sunday afternoon. Mount Hood and most of the Oregon Cascades will do equally well. This will be the first Deep Cold storm (Low density snow) of the season.
Moisture streams into Idaho Saturday midday focusing on the northern mountains. We really like Schweitzer and areas in the northern 1/3 of Idaho during Saturday afternoon and evening. That moisture plunges south into central and southern Idaho late Saturday night (Sun Valley, Stanley, Boise).
ROCKIES: A good portion of Montana will see a quick hit of 6-11 inches between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Bridger Bowl and Big Sky may reap deeper rewards (Sunday morning could be the real deal). The Tetons will grab a good shot of snowfall (6-10) beginning Saturday evening through Sunday. A sharp cold front comes through Sunday morning enhancing snowfall just as the lifts are opening. My eyes are on Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole as a possible chase location for Sunday morning. My hunch is that Targhee will be deeper but it might not happen until late morning (6-9).
The northern Wasatch of Utah will see snow early Sunday morning that works into the Cottonwoods by 10AM. A strong cold front reaches the Wasatch Sunday afternoon enhancing snowfall. There is no impressive moisture tap however light density snow (20:1 ratios) will add up quickly by late Sunday/Monday (7-15 ). All areas including low elevations will see a share of snowfall. Consider storm skiing in the North Wasatch early Sunday as I am not confident southern areas will be deep until late? Check out Beaver Mountain in the northern part of Utah just 120 miles NE of Salt Lake City to escape the crowds and perhaps grab powder before the other resorts get in the action.
COLORADO: The northern and central mountains from Aspen, Steamboat and Monarch will all see light to moderate snowfall Sunday-Tuesday. Steady light to occasional moderate snow will be falling so perhaps no single deep events with respectable amounts through the period. Models show arctic air plunging in on Sunday. Steamboat sometimes benefits from these cold fronts that set off Orographics that can get deep? Cold air spills south over the Front Range late Sunday/Monday (Loveland, Winter Park, A Basin, Eldora, Summit County and Eastern Eagle may reap rewards). I think Monday or Tuesday stand good chances for moderate powder days (Dry density sink through the surface type snow). You may see 3-6 inches each day?
Long Term? Models show a good chance of snowfall for the south including all areas of New Mexico, Arizona, and southern Utah. Amounts could be decent! Interior BC also gets active again by the middle to end of the week.