Report From Powderchasers.com
Welcome back, everyone! It’s a bit early being the first week of Fall posting a Powder Watch, however, some ski areas have already seen a teasing of 7-9 inches of snow last week. The Tetons scored some turnable powder at the summits last week and more snow will be falling late this weekend in many areas of the west. It’s not uncommon to see early snow in the northern hemisphere early season but it is rare to see such cold temps that are about to hit the west late this week. Also, while early snow is great buzz it’s not a good indicator of what mid-winter conditions will be, or who will see the most snow this season.
Below: Park City Mountain Resort got teased last week
The week ahead looks very wet with a cutoff low that is going to be hovering over the Canadian Rockies, and most of central and northern portions of Montana for several days. The big story is unusually cold temperature that will drop mountaintop readings into the single digits in Canada and low teens in the Northern Rockies. Many areas will see their first valley snowfall by the weekend. That system is expected to stall and bring up to 20 inches or more to northern Montana. At this point, we feel very confident about Glacier National Park and areas of central Montana. Whitefish will be seeing snowfall but amounts will be less as higher amounts fall just to its east. Amounts may still be significant. Snow will also be falling in Canada as we finish out the work week with decent amounts likely for both British Columbia (Revelstoke) and Alberta (Sunshine Village, Banff). Whistler will see lighter amounts.
That system moves south late this weekend in the Wasatch and most of Wyoming. Due to some model discrepancy, it’s not clear how much snow the Tetons and areas towards Big Sky and Bridger Bowl nab this weekend. I am confident for moderate amounts in all of these areas. Some models hint at 5-10 inches and others are less. Winds are NE through much of the even before shifting more S or SW which leads to some mystery with amounts for those ranges. With a cut off low, some magic can bring higher amounts with the highest confidence in the north. In the Wasatch, the northern regions of Utah perhaps near Beaver Mountain, or even the mountains near Snowbasin see moderate amounts. The Uinta Range east of Park City is likely to see the highest totals. Both Little and Big Cottonwood will see 4-10 inches but we are still 5 days out with some model changes likely. That why we have a large spread on the accumulations.
Other highlights include likely snow for the Sierra at some point late this weekend. Models generally have not agreed with the Euro being optimistic and the GFS a bit of pessimist. Colder temperatures should kick off snowfall late this weekend in most of the northern Sierra with our early forecast in the 3-8 inch range at upper elevations. The further north you travel, the more snow is likely where resorts south may see much lighter amounts. The northern interior Cascades also show decent snow totals in WA this weekend with lighter amounts filtering all the way through Oregon. It’s likely that the northern WA Cascades especially eastern sides reap good rewards. We have less confidence on totals for the Sierra.
Bottom Line: Significant snow in north/central Montana and interior Canada with moderate amounts further south. The heaviest snow will focus on the Divide and areas favored with NE winds. That includes central Wyoming. Moisture will spill south into the Tetons and Wasatch with moderate amounts possible. Some snow will be falling in the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest and Sierra late this weekend (North favored). The bulk of snowfall for the Rockies will be the latter half of the weekend as all models have slowed the timing. We are still 5 days out so model confidence is moderate. Updates will be issued on the website.
Below: Total snowfall through early next Wednesday favoring northern Montana, Canada, and some spots of central Wyoming. The Euro (Not shown) is more bullish, especially for the Sierra. Most areas of the west will see snowfall at some point towards the latter half of the week into next. Much colder temps will be seen in all these areas!
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