Significant snow fell as forecasted in New England (12-20″ as of 2 PM). Warm temps kept amounts on the low side in the Sawtooths of Idaho where Brundage picked up between 3-6″. Warm temps had me chasing to the Tetons where both Grand Targhee and JHMR scored 8 inches of surf pow with some notable frosting for face shots in the wind protected areas.
If you’re out west the Sierra will grab the highest amounts from right now through MLK morning (12-16 inches). It might not be your best chase due to warm temps initially but Monday could deliver some epic runs (Colder light or moderate pow on frosting the cream).
I am liking central Montana, Wasatch, Tetons the best in the next 36 hours.
Short Term Forecast:
Snow is falling in The Sierra with rain or mixed precipitation below 6,000 feet. Heavy cream (*that can be fun if you’re on steep terrain) will continue tonight with a sharp decrease in the snow levels by Monday. Most of the precip will be ending 3-4 hours after the cold front with another 3-7 inches post-frontal snowfall. That means Monday morning can deliver a really good opportunity to ride cream buff layered with 4-7 inches of medium density pow. I would consider chasing there if it were not a holiday weekend…
The highlights in the next 36 hours aside from the Sierra will be Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and a Colorado (*wildcard – less confidence). I really like the prospects of Montana Snowbowl near Missoula for 5-10 inches overnight Sunday to Monday morning. Other “hot spots” might be the southern Panhandle near Lookout Pass, Lolo Pass, and Lost Trail Pass. These areas all meet the criteria for an overnight dump. Whitefish will see moderate snow for Monday morning turns.
The Tetons and Wasatch are solid contenders. The big question? Who will win? I am at Targhee currently debating my next move. The GFS brings 8-14 inches to the Cowboy State by noon Monday. The Euro has 6-11. The Tetons will score moderate amounts by the time lifts spin Monday (4-7) with another (4-7) by 11 AM. Higher amounts are possible by the end of the day. If the Euro is correct amounts may be slightly less. The NAM is also very bullish! The Cowboy State will win in overnight snow (50% overnight) compared to Utah (20% overnight).
Bonus: Tetons get cold by daybreak so the snow will be “Right side up” and lighter than the last dump.
The Wasatch will nab a quick hit of 5-10 inches at most ski areas in both the northern and central mountains on Monday. The Cottonwoods will score deeper amounts with NW winds pumping totals to 11-18 inches by late Monday night. The chase question: Is there going to be any overnight snow either Sunday or Monday?
The GFS brings moisture into Utah as early as 3 AM where the Euro holds it off till 7-9 AM. My gut tells me that it will be a storm ski day with only 2-4 inches on most snow reports Monday Morning (Tetons deeper for AM snow). Storm skiing has big advantages! The MLK crowds may disappear by 2 PM. Your last chair may offer your best run of the day (That’s your celebration of MLK).
While Utah may win for amounts in the Cottonwoods, it may come up short of the Tetons elsewhere. Another idea would be to look at deeper totals north towards Logan (Beaver Mountain) early Monday and chase south for the afternoon (1.5-hour drive to SLC). There are differing models. Some show heavy snow near Logan and in Pocatello (Pomerelle Ski area) early Monday. Other models vary. Keep on eye on webcams and the early snow reports for these areas.
With the holiday crowds consider smaller resorts like Beaver, Powder, Pomerelle, and perhaps Snowbasin early Monday (Powder benefits better with the NW wind direction). There is also Whisper Ridge Cat Skiing to consider. In Wyoming, Targhee would be my pick for the holiday (SorryJHMR).
In Colorado, moisture will begin Monday PM (noonish) and looks okay for areas in the far west (Grand Mesa, Uinta Range). Steamboat may be in good position for Tuesday AM powder taking a southerly route to Telluride who does well with NW wind direction. I would aim for resorts further west with a few resorts to add to a list of contenders (Crested Butte, Snowmass, Monarch). It’s not a mega event! Perhaps 4-8 in these areas? Further east look for 3-5 inches favoring the Continental Divide as winds shift to the North late Monday night. Perhaps Winter Park scores some light or moderate freshies with the north winds. On the last storm, I was accurate on the western resorts such as CB, Purg, and Steamboat, but completely missed the Front Range dump at Loveland Ski Area (12 inches on Friday). The fun of powder is proving any forecaster wrong and waking up to a foot of snow that was never in the mix.
Finally, in New England snow will continue tonight for western portions of New Hampshire and Maine. Expect 2-5 inches of additional snow with the exception of higher amounts at Sugarloaf and especially the far NW border with Canada (Significant amounts).
Midweek powder returns to the west beginning Tuesday in the PNW. I am liking the odds of some dumps for the northern Panhandle of Idaho (Schweitzer) and most of Montana by Wednesday. NW winds may crank out some decent snowfall at Bridger Bowl, Big Sky, and the Tetons (Wednesday/Thursday). This may be a fast mover, with not a ton of moisture, but a good tap of cold air that might land some surprises. We will have to wait and see how the models start to pan out for the midweek storm. The temps will be colder than this week.
In the long term, a deep trough might enter the Midwest towards Thursday next week and push significant snowfall into New England for the weekend. The west will dry out after the midweek period. There may be a return of moisture for the Rockies towards the end of January.
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