Report From Powderchasers.com
It’s no secret that there has been a lack of snow across much of the west recently but sometimes it’s hard to recognize just how dry it’s been. Thankfully there are website available freely that show us exactly what we want to know.
First off, before we get into how the west is doing currently in terms of snow coverage and snowpack, we’d love your help! If you want to chase powder to the deepest spots and support our forecasts please join our Concierge program that starts at just $95 bucks. You can also donate here if you like our forecasts and want to feed our powder bank.
We had a pretty epic snowy period around the holidays and it seems that ever since that ended, we haven’t seen a return of widespread snow which is…more than unfortunate because the direction we’re going is getting worrisome.
Taking a look at the surplus/deficit of snow since the beginning of 2021 really paints the picture of what we’ve been tracking this year. Which wasn’t much. Areas circled in red which include western Colorado, all of Utah, all of Nevada, most of California and Arizona and much of Oregon and Idaho have been severely lacking in the snow department.
Meanwhile, the only places that have seen average or slightly more than average snow this year have been along and east of the Divide in Colorado (looking at you Eldora, Loveland and Winter Park). Also, portions of Montana, northern Idaho and the Washington Cascades have seen above normal snow but the caveat in Washington is that they’ve had pretty warm temperatures so the snow has only been falling at the highest elevations leaving many ski areas experiencing rain at times.
Another way to see how snow conditions are currently is to look at the snow depth as compared to normal for the date.
Above is basically where the snow is now and how it compares to this same date in previous years. So, with only tans and oranges showing up (with a few reds in New Mexico) it means that most areas in the west have at or below normal snow coverage.
Now, to the all important forecast. We need some snow badly across the west. Conditions keep deteriorating under intense winter sun so any refreshes or big dumps will be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, that is not in the forecast in the near term.
Here’s a look at the upper level pattern between now and the end of the weekend. It shows a strong ridge of high pressure parking itself over the mountain west and western Canada. This will keep all snow away from the area and will bring really warm temperatures during the day.
The map above shows the average temperature departure over the next 5 days. So between now and Monday, temperatures will be averaging between 5 and 15º above normal for the entire period.
There is some snow in sight by next week. It looks like a strong enough chunk of energy will split up this ridge and bring a nice refresh to most mountains. Although it doesn’t look like a huge storm but it does look like it cover a good chunk of the west with some decent light powder.
This storm the moves into the PNW on Monday will ride down through California and spin around the Four Corners. While this could be a great setup for snow along the divide in Colorado most other areas are looking at between 3-10″ of snow from this storm. Not bad considering we haven’t had any snow to talk about lately.
We’ll have to wait on the details to be ironed out but for any powder chasers out there looking for the next storm, this is it. So let’s watch is closely.
The above map shows the potential snow that could fall next week and I’ve circled areas in red that could perform well with this storm. Again, it’s not a huge storm but it is something to that could bring some nice snow to play on finally.
For the second half of February, a ridge looks to build back in briefly but there are signs showing that the west could turn more stormy as the month closes out. This winter, we’ve seen period of a lot of snow followed by periods of no snow so hopefully we transition out of the snowless period soon and get that snow falling again as we move towards the Spring months.
If you are interested in Heli skiing check out our trusted partner Alaska Backcountry Adventures who only has a few openings left for 3/6 – 3/12 and 3/20- 3/26. They will get you to the good stuff. Alaska is having a good season thus far and its snowing heavily in Valdez as we post. Mention Powderchasers for a free concierge program once booked.