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Low end powder alerts for chaseable snow in the next 48 hours, however bases are still lacking in many areas. Isolated areas of 1 foot or more are likely. Many options especially in Oregon. The Sierra will also score an excess of a foot of pow, with wildcards in the Rockies and Washington State.
Snow will return to Colorado late Saturday with opportunity for soft or even deep turns for Sunday morning.
Full Disclosure: I blew the forecast for the southern mountains of Colorado forecasting the AM report Friday correctly but missing the additional snow that fell during the day. By 2PM they reported 13 inch storm totals.
In looking for the ideal chase, you need to consider many factors. It’s not just total snow! Look at wind speeds, snow density, crowd factor (Not much getting around that one these days), bases, open terrain. Currently in the west decent bases exist in the North Cascades of Washington and good bases exist in most of Oregon. While okay bases exist in the central and southern Cascades of Washington the lack of any base build in several weeks has created a nasty frozen layer. This might steer me away in the short term, even though snow is in the forecast. Oregon has had much more recent snowfall.
The next 24 hours will feature snowfall for Colorado on Saturday with the peak intensities from mid afternoon to early evening. The models show the highest amounts will fall in the southern mountains. Winds from the SW on Saturday afternoon will favor Wolf Creek Pass, Purgatory, and Silverton, however after 7PM they shift to the north which will push more snowfall into the central mountains. The models snow 6-10 inches for Telluride, Purgatory, Silverton and perhaps slightly lower amounts for Wolf Creek. Taos should score 4-8 inches by Sunday morning. If chasing, my decision will come at 9PM while focussing on the Snow Telemetry since most of the intense snow will occur before 11PM. You might score 25% snow from Saturday and 75% overnight into Sunday. Elsewhere in Colorado expect 3-6 inches primarily along or south of I-70. higher amounts might happen further west towards Grand Junction or even a sneak up event for Steamboat.
Below: High Resolution Model (HRR) through 11PM Saturday focuses a heavy band of snow for the northern San Juan Range as well as a band on the NM/CO border. Resorts just north of Durango are a wildcard, with Silverton a contender as well as Wolf Creek. Telluride is a solid contender.
Below: High resoultion model showing a heavy band of snow near Telluride Saturday evening with other highlights noted just south of Wolf Creek Pass.
Utah is scoring some much needed snow right now! 2 weak distrubances will put down 4-7 inches Saturday, and another 4-7 inches late Sunday/Monday. In looking at web cams it appears Park City scored 4 inches thus far (Still snowing) with Alta showing similar amounts on automated telemetry. We are currently up at Brighton and it’s snowing lightly with about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Snow will taper later this morning and increase again Monday morning (Another 4-8 by 6PM Monday).
The Tetons scored 6-8 inches for Saturday morning and more light snow is likely Sunday night into Monday. Targhee reported 10 however the telemetry shows less.
Below: University of Utah Meteogram of total snowfall per the 12 KM NAM for Alta. The first storm is pulling out on Saturday while the 2nd storm moves in for Monday. Plan on 6-8 for Saturday and another 6-8 for Monday (12-16 inch totals).
In looking at the Sierra, snow was focused Friday night over the southern regions. Snow telemetry for Mammoth Mountain shows 3-4 inches per the water equivelant below. (.33 inches of moisture at 6AM).
Snow will increase Sunday morning through Monday morning bringing a welcome 12-15 inches of snow to many ski areas of the Sierra. Monday will be a powder day!
Elsewhere in the west, a decent storm will move into the Northwest on Sunday. The heaviest snow will be falling during the day with many resorts in Oregon and Washington picking up 6-9 inches during the day. I am most bulish for Bachelor, Mount Hood Meadows, Stevens Pass, and perhaps Baker. Snow will continue Sunday night, especially in Washington favoring Stevens Pass and Mount Baker (Additional 3-6). Total snowfall by Monday morning will range from 9-15 inches in many locations (Sunday/Monday). The GFS American Model is bullish, while the Euro is showing lower storm totals (5-10). Aim to storm ski Sunday and grab a refresh from snow that falls Sunday night into Monday. Mount Hood and Timberline scored 5-10 inches as of Saturday morning with more on the way for Sunday.
The pattern stays active with a slight warming trend for the Pacific Northwest. Storms will move in every 48 hours. The midweek period looks wet. Storms are likley to drop south towards the Sierra and eventually move east over the Rockies. While its warming up, that might lead to better base building potential. We should remain in a stormy pattern as we approach the holidays, with a cooling trend.
Enjoy the Powder.