[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]
You can still chase double digits each day if you choose wisely. I chased from Mammoth yesterday (40-50 inches) to Sun Valley today (19 inches). Light Blower at Mammoth Friday afternoon (15-20) turned heavy on Saturday (Additional 10-15) with the upper mountain closed (Need VIS to open). Sun Valley scored 20-30 inches of wet snow low and medium dense at the summit over the past 2 days. This morning “The sun broke out just in time to open the back side bowls that surprisingly held up nicely to the warm air that has infiltrated the west. The next series of storms is going to bury the upper elevations of the Sierra (3-6 feet) and create flooding at low elevations. The models for other locations look respectable for Oregon/Southern WA, Idaho, Wyoming, northern Utah and eventually Colorado on Thursday. The latter might provide your best chase opportunity over the next 3 days. You won’t find blower at any resort this week except perhaps Wednesday or Thursday as colder air moves into the West.
DETAILS: A heavy burst of snowfall crushed the Tetons last night (15 inches of upper elevation cream) and zoomed into the Wasatch this morning. The upper cottonwood canyons picked up 10-12 inches of snow (Brighton may be in the lead which is favored by SW flow). Snow was only significant at upper elevations (NADA at the base of JHMR and most resorts in Utah below 8,000 feet). Wolf Creek snuck out 7 inches with moisture currently streaming north over the central and northern mountains (Vail, Steamboat, Breckenridge, CB) with light to moderate amounts on tap through Sunday evening
CALIFORNIA CHASE: “Cream cheese alert” with strong atmospheric river event!
The big story has our attention on the Sierra where 3-7 feet will fall through Wednesday. Models are consistent showing heavy snow beginning over north lake Tahoe late tonight into Monday morning. Heavy snowfall above 7500 feet (Rain at some of the bases), strong winds, and increasing avalanche danger will surely keep upper mountains closed Monday and perhaps into Tuesday. “A friend once told me that Heavenly has good protection and does well when all others come up short (Less avalanche prone terrain and good trees).” Resorts with higher elevation along the crest like Squaw, Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl will reap the highest snow totals but at the same time may be stuck in the lodge more than the hill? You could also consider getting out of dodge and chasing East where less snow will fall but mountains will keep terrain open? The opportunity to chase the Sierra might be best on Wednesday or Thursday?
Snow continues in the Sierra through late Tuesday night. Models advertise a cold front mid Tuesday morning should drive snowfall to all bases including the lake by late in the day. It’s possible that late Tuesday takes the cream and whips it back into some frosting on your last turns Tuesday if your mountain is open. A well needed break is on tap for early Wednesday (openings will be slow) but it’s time to get in line! A bonus storm (Colder) will drive another 5-9 inches into the Sierra late Wednesday (Final wave in our forecast). The northern Sierra will see the highest amounts (3-6 feet). Southern Sierra (Mammoth) will see better quality snow (Higher elevation) with lower totals (Who cares when we are measuring in feet). Upper mountain will remain closed at Mammoth so your terrain options may be limited (It’s a no win situation unless you ride Chair 22 all day). We did that on late Friday but it tracked out fast on Saturday. Best days to ride the Sierra might be Wednesday (Openings) or Thursday (Fresh colder snow).
Rockies, Cascades – Powder Alert!
I am consolidating my forecast due to an active chase! The Cascades are finally under 3,000 foot snow levels and should reap 4-10 inches through the Presidents Day holiday (Highest amounts south towards Crystal). Models show heavy snow in most of Oregon through Tuesday night (12-18 inches likely for Timberline, Bachelor, Hood, Etc.). Temps will be on the warm side so conditions may be dense versus fluff depending on wind impacts and elevation. Chases should be decent in the southern Cascades over the next 2 days.
Significant moisture tap will aim itself into central Idaho and the Tetons Monday through Tuesday. Temps will remain warm (6-7,000 foot snow levels). I can see Sun Valley picking up an additional 12-20 inches (summit) by Wednesday (Best time to score will be Monday PM- Tuesday AM). The snow will be dense and rain may fall at the base during peak daytime heating! Snow continues into Tuesday evening in central Idaho. Areas further north like Brundage into Schweitzer grab good refreshes every 24 hours (2-6 Monday/Tuesday with 5-12 inch totals- dense).
The Tetons will nab deep cream Monday night into Tuesday (7-15 mid to upper mountain). JHMR will win somewhat over Targhee due to SW flow (The Ghee likes NW wind direction best). Targhee will benefit from higher base elevation (Perhaps all snow versus Jackson rain). Snow will continue in the Tetons Tuesday night into Wednesday with slightly cooler temperaturs. Another 5-10 inches is likely to fall! Total snowfall in the Tetons will exceed 15-25 inches by Wednesday morning (Mid mountain and higher).
The Wasatch who scored today will grab leftovers to the south late Monday/Tuesday (5-9 at upper elevation resorts only). One exception might be the Logan Valley (Beaver) where higher moisture will be falling late Monday and early Tuesday. Colder air arrives late Tuesday night into Wednesday kicking dense snow to better quality. Amounts may stay light to moderate but persist into Thursday. It’s possible that Thursday morning sneaks out a decent powder day with better quality.
The cold push impacts Colorado late Wednesday and Thursday. Snow will be falling over most of Colorado including the I-70 corridor. The models show 5-10 inches in many locations (Aspen, Crested Butte might be favored) however cold air orographics are likely to produce deeper surprises (Steamboat, Vail Pass, Breckenridge are on watch for Thursday). This will be addressed on a later post since models that far out will change (Consistent trend has been good for Colorado Statewide on Thursday).
EXTENDED POW CAST
Models show a persistent snow showers continue in Colorado late week! A decent cold storm may finally hit the Sierra late this week into early weekend!
Enjoy the powder/cream/frosting/ and what ever mother nature is going to throw at you this week. It’s a mixed bag. Chase wisely! Colder temps mid week will improve conditions considerably.
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