Forecast radar for today 1-15-19 | Image (+Cover): NOAA

[Forecast courtesy of Powderchasers]


Several storms to chase! Arizona scores Tuesday with the San Juans of Colorado on Wednesday morning. 12-15 for the Sierra Wednesday morning will await first chairs, with another 3 feet likely for Thursday. The Wasatch, Tetons, North-Central Colorado, and even the Cascades and south-central Idaho score rewards Thursday/Friday. Saturday will offer openings for terrain that is likely to stay closed on Friday.

Short Term Forecast:

Snow is falling in northern Arizona this morning with 8 inches on the snow report at the AZ Snowbowl. That will continue Tuesday with storm totals in the 8-15 inch range by late PM. That system edges into southern Utah (5-10) and skims the Wasatch into Wednesday (3-5). Most action sets up again by late Tuesday night/Wednesday in the San Juans. Chase to AZ or southern UT ski resorts now and Colorado on Wednesday.

Colorado scores 5-10 inches tonight into Wednesday morning favoring areas north of Durango. Silverton, Purgatory and even Telluride (*wildcard due to wind direction) could all be good Wednesday morning. Wolf Creek is in the mix however slightly higher amounts might fall further west. Most of the snow will fall after 11 PM Tuesday into Wednesday morning. I would monitor webcams Tuesday night to verify results.

The Sierra is going to grab 3-5 feet of snow in the next 3 days! Chases are tricky if not impossible to determine due to several periods of heavy snow and strong winds that kick in late Wednesday through Thursday. Your best bets will be Wednesday morning with 6-12 inches of freshies and moderate winds. It’s likely that enough clearing takes place ahead of the next stronger system kicks in that upper mountains open terrain. Mammoth may see slightly less wind late Wednesday than the northern areas where gusts will approach 80 MPH by late in the day (Morning should be okay). If you’re lucky, Mammoth Mountain will open the summit on Wednesday as a bonus before the next stronger system slams in on Thursday. Significant snowfall will be falling late Wednesday night into Thursday with very strong winds, especially in the morning. Consider resorts with lower elevation lifts or terrain that’s less avalanche prone (*low angle). It’s a complete gamble with rewards being high if anything steep opens by late Thursday? I suspect many resorts will be on wind and AVY hold until late Thursday or early Friday. Lower lifts are likely to run in some areas. Winds decrease Friday with snow showers continuing early AM in the northern Sierra. Clearing may be more evident further south.

Total snowfall above 7,000 feet will be in the 3-5 foot range (3-day storm totals) with higher amounts above 9,000 feet.

Amounts may be significantly less at the bases with snow levels fluctuating from 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Colder air on Thursday will drive higher amounts to the bases. Ride Friday/Saturday and enjoy terrain as it opens.

Snow will be falling over the Sawtooths and Tetons on Thursday (Sun Valley should score a moderate powder day), It’s possible that the Tetons nab 5-9 inches by the last chair Thursday.

The Wasatch will see similar or slightly higher amounts Thursday (Big Cottonwood may score the highest with SW wind direction). Winds will be increasing in the Wasatch late Thursday so its possible wind holds occur late AM or early PM. SW winds could also point to higher amounts of snowfall into Snowbasin or Beaver Mountain near Logan. My vote would be Brighton and perhaps Deer Valley grab decent amounts by the end of Thursday.

If you’re up in the Tetons or central Idaho storm ski through the day. Little Cottonwood will catch up late Thursday or Friday as the winds shift to the NW.

Total snowfall through late Friday

Heavy snow will be falling Thursday night in the Wasatch while moderate snow occurs in the Tetons. It’s likely that another 9-16 inches fall Thursday night in some areas favored by NW flow (Powder Mountain, Alta, Canyons side of Park City). Total snowfall in the Wasatch (Wednesday-Friday) will range between 20-30 inches. The Tetons will see additional snowfall slightly favoring Grand Targhee over JHMR Thursday night. Friday will be deep in many areas of the Rockies!

In Colorado, significant snow is showing up in the models for late Thursday night into Friday (Storm ski). The highest amounts are likely to be south of I-70 on the western side of the mountain ranges. 12-15 inches is likely for Crested Butte, 9-12 for Aspen, and its possible that Steamboat scores some surprises also (*some model variances with some showing 9-14 inches). The northern San Juan mountains, especially Telluride could land some really deep snow by Friday afternoon. Further east, I am somewhat bullish for Beaver Creek but less so for Summit County (7-10 inches). Winds shift from SSW to NW by midday Friday. That will favor Vail Pass Friday/Saturday. Residual moisture with NW flow could land some sneak up powder for the I-70 corridor even for 1st chairs on Saturday. Chase west and south Friday morning (Exception being Steamboat who could score) and aim for the northern areas later Friday or Saturday (Eagle County may be favored over Summit).

Total snowfall through late Friday. Additional light or moderate snow may fall Friday night along I-70.

Cascades: Chase-worthy on Friday with 5-10 inches of new snow over many areas of both Oregon and Washington. Mt Baker may see the highest? Most spots are in solid range of a powder day!

Extended Forecast:

The extended brings some additional moisture into the Pacific Northwest this weekend with relatively high snow levels. Another system will hit the Sierra on Monday (Northern areas favored- light to moderate amounts) with another system on tap for the PNW by Mid next week. Some of the moisture early next week from PNW will favor the northern Rockies both Monday and Wednesday. Look for some light or moderate snowfall to northern Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

New England is likely going to get very deep on Sunday with cold temps and blower pow. If you ride the Rockies this week and New England this weekend you will have powder to chowdah (All extra large).

Enjoy the tricky but abundant chases this week!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Please visit our new sponsors websites. WELCOME our newest sponsor SNOSHARK who has reinvented the tool for removing snow from your car! This device will speed up your chase times, clearing snow in seconds versus minutes. Please check them out from the link above! Powderchasers uses these tools on our chases.

Also check out Ski Ride Tours who has fully packaged trips in search of the deepest snow (Dates are prearranged with the location determined by powder forecasts).

— Powderchaser Steve

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