Powder Alert! Cascades & Colorado 12-20" of Snow At The Upper Elevations

Powder Alert! Cascades & Colorado 12-20" of Snow At The Upper Elevations


Powder Alert! Cascades & Colorado 12-20" of Snow At The Upper Elevations


Report From Powderchasers.com

Trip Report:  Yesterday featured my first visit to Red Lodge Mountain Ski area in southern Montana (Gateway to Yellowstone).  If you ever get to visit this local resort, you won’t be pressured by crowds, and at the same time score some good terrain. While I did not get to explore the entire mountain did hit some glades that consist of medium steep open trees that funnel into thicker sections only to open up again that funnel you back to the lifts. The mountain consists of a a good percentage of steeper runs.  Lift ticket prices remain reasonable at $56 bucks on non holidays. The town of Red Lodge is beautiful (Just what you would expect from a small Montana town) and consists primarily of old red brick western buildings on a 6-7 block stretch (you can blink a few times). I would highly recommend this resort as a Getaway that might set you back in time,  in a good way. The food choices in Red Lodge are also very good.

Below:  Town of Red Lodge Montana (6 miles from the ski area).

Forecast:  Several feet are going to fall in the Northwest in the next 24 hours.  Heavy snow will be falling with high winds Saturday night before diminishing somewhat Sunday morning. The favored areas will be the southern Cascades of Washington (Crystal Mountain,White Pass and areas south), Oregon Cascades (Timberline Lodge).  These areas will nab 12-20 inches by late Sunday morning. The Good: Heavy snowfall tonight.  The Bad: Snow levels were high today with rain that fell this morning. Snow levels lower to 4,000 feet tonight (Most base areas see wet snow or mixed). That is respectable for mainly snow however combined with strong winds tonight and early Sunday, quality will be anything from dense compacted snow to cream.  The summits may ride pretty well where the bases will be sticky.  Snow levels rise through the day Sunday so if patrol opens terrain late AM or early PM (Likely at many areas) it will be deteriorating..  Baker should nab 12-18 inches where Stevens may only see 8-12.  Short term chase? Why not, Long term? No.

Rain in Utah migrates to light snow tonight above 7,000 feet. (rain changes to snow tonight). Not worth chasing!

I rode Vail Saturday that featured no crowds and 10-12 inches of medium density butter (Call it dry butter versus dense snow) that was smooth and fun but a challenge to get a “Face Shot”  The coverage up top is excellent and you can pretty much point it in most places. Tomorrow should deliver more powder for Colorado at upper elevations.

Below: View from my lift ride up after a great run down Genghis Khan this morning.

The Colorado mountains will score another deep round of snowfall Saturday night into Sunday.  I under forecasted on the last post (4-8 and stated somewhere was going to get 10). Spring storms can over deliver.  The combined orographics during the day Friday plus bonus pow last night brought numbers averaging from 10-15 inches at many resorts in the north. The base areas, received much less snowfall and in many cases 0.  Radar is enhancing as of 5PM Saturday with strong moisture that is going to favor mountains along I-70.  Models show the highest amounts may fall at the peaks near Aspen extending into Beaver Creek.  Its a moot point, since most ski areas will get significant snowfall above 10,000 feet. I hate to single out a single areas on this event, but somehow think Highlands Bowl may be really deep on Sunday. Modest moisture will be falling at Telluride as well as Steamboat.  Look or the snow levels to drop tonight (Slowly) to around 8,000 feet by Sunday morning. The Good: Heavy snowfall for Colorado (Central-North favored).  The Bad: High snow levels tonight will create dense snow and only a few inches at lower elevations.  The Wildcard:  Snow levels are slowly dropping tonight, so its possible you end up with 9-13 inches of butter topped off with 3-5 inches of medium density snow.

Regardless, aim for high elevation resorts on Sunday (Loveland, Breckenridge, Winter Park, A-Basin, Highlands)  for the best quality snow. Highest snow totals may favor western areas towards Highlands or Beaver Creek?  The snow reports may by deceiving on Sunday morning due to lower elevations. Telluride is also in the mix.

Below: Solid pink colors in the 10-18 inch range above 10,000 feet for most of western Colorado. Brightest colors are over Aspen or slightly south . The models may not be picking up on locations of the deepest snow as much as the terrain or highest peaks.  Everyone is fair game on this next system.

The week ahead:  Colder and a return of snowfall to the west. 

Colder temperatures return to the Cascades mid week (Light to moderate snow over several days peaking Tuesday PM and Wednesday AM as temps slowly fall).  A decent cold foot of powder may return to the Sierra by Thursday/Friday extending into Utah.  My confidence is 50% at this point for a return of decent quality in many areas of the Rockies late next week. Chases are likely for the Sierra, Wasatch and perhaps Colorado late next week.

Powderchaser Steve

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