It's Dumping In The Pacific Northwest | Updated Snow Totals [Powderchasers]

It's Dumping In The Pacific Northwest | Updated Snow Totals [Powderchasers]

Weather

It's Dumping In The Pacific Northwest | Updated Snow Totals [Powderchasers]

By

Whistler BC- 4 AM Tuesday morning.

[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]

Summary:

Snow will be falling heavily today and tonight in the Pacific Northwest. Westerly winds will push good moisture into most mountains of the Cascades including Oregon.

Areas of the North Cascades near Mt Baker may be slightly favored, however, Stevens Pass may reap very deep rewards with a convergence zone tonight (Westerly flow and cold air orographics). Baker and Stevens open Wednesday, so expect 2 feet of fresh snow on opening. Crystal Mountain is open in Green Valley (*summit).

The Oregon Cascades will see less snow due to higher snow levels (*warm initially and dropping by Wednesday).

The Good: High confidence in 2 plus foot snow totals for many ski areas(Tuesday-Wednesday).

The Bad: Limited terrain much of which may open in the next 5 days with avalanche control and other mitigations-operations. It will still be snowing albeit moderately when the lifts open on Wednesday morning. Whistler Blackcomb will also score heavy snowfall through Wednesday.

The Panhandle of Idaho will also score significant snowfall through Wednesday (1-2 feet). Look out Schweitzer

Short Term Forecast:

The Rockies are still on track to grab leftovers. This is going to be a very fast moving system with significant wind factored into amounts. The highest amounts will likely be found in the Tetons by 5 PM Wednesday (5-11 inches).

The Good: Possible double digits by the last chair Wednesday. 2-4 inches for opening lifts.

The Bad: Strong winds may impact lift operations as well as increase avalanche danger- Daytime snow versus overnight.

The Wasatch will likely see lower amounts. The models are less bullish for Utah than Wyoming, however good NW orographics may outperform in a few spots of the Cottonwoods. Expect 2-5 inches for most mountain locations of northern Utah including Park City by last chair Wednesday (little to no overnight snow). The Cottonwoods (LLC favored over BCC) will likely see 5-10 inches (The 10 is purely based on orographics and terrain but my confidence is at 50% here).

Northern Montana near Whitefish ( may be a solid contender for Wednesday morning (5-10). Southern resorts near Big Sky will see lower amounts with Bridger slightly favored with NW winds (3-7).

You could chase from the Tetons to Colorado for an additional powder day Thursday morning. Snow from Wyoming and Utah will be entering northern Colorado late Wednesday afternoon. The highest amounts might land near Steamboat (5-9) for your first chairs. Other wildcards will be Aspen, Telluride, and possibly Vail (3-7). The further west or north you travel the higher snow totals. It’s a very fast-moving system so there may only be a window of 4 hours of snowfall.

Extended Forecast:

Snow will be falling again in the Cascades late this week (Thursday/Friday). Snow levels will be higher with some mixed precipitation at pass levels. Significant additional snowfall is likely favoring the northern Cascades. of Washington above 5,000 feet (*base building). Colder temps Friday will return snowfall to all bases. This may also push further south into Oregon (Timberline, Bachelor etc.).

The weekend has mixed signals for the Sierra. One model brings 5-10 inches for the northern Sierra Sunday/Monday, where others keep most snow further north. The Rockies will continue to see light or moderate snow this weekend favoring most of Idaho, Montana, and northern Wyoming. Saturday may dry things out in the Cascades before several more waves of moisture return for Sunday and next week. Some of those may feature warmer temperatures and rising snow levels. By the middle of next week, you will see some summit locations of some ski areas reporting very high snow totals. Mount Baker (*not the ski area) itself is likely to see 100-150 inches of snowfall (10,700 feet) with this storm cycle.

Chases are tricky this week. It’s the “terrain versus the amount of snow” equation in the Cascades. Winds, snow levels and high intensities in short periods of time may create some operational challenges for some areas of the PNW. The Tetons score Wednesday with wind and primarily daytime snow. Colorado is solid for light or moderate overnight snow for Thursday but amounts might fall shy of a chase? Next week may offer more opportunity.

–Powderchaser Steve

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