After the Sierra, Central Idaho, Tetons, and Wasatch mountains saw 1-2 feet of snow over the weekend, the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia will see the next batch of snow tonight and tomorrow. After that, the Rockies will receive the leftovers. The official forecast from Powderchasers is below.
Powder Alert- PNW, BC- Rockies grab leftovers.
The last few days has seen 1-2 foot powder chases with the Sierra, Central Idaho, Tetons, and Wasatch winners. Colorado scored 5-10 inches. The next few days will feature a very moist pacific storm primarily impacting the PNW, BC, with weakened leftovers aimed at the northern Rockies.
Today (Monday) ended up much deeper than forecasted for the Wasatch Range where 7-10 inches accumulated (LCC) since the lifts closed on Sunday. 7 inches on Sunday fell from 11 AM to 4 PM with much of that snow still untouched in some areas. Light density blower created fantastic fluff with some areas still feeling bottom. Those areas that rode effortlessly were fantastic, especially those that were riding the storm total of around 15-17 inches. The Sierra scored on Sunday with new terrain openings on Monday. The Sierra landed 1-2 feet for many resorts with very good quality, especially Sunday. Northern Colorado came in as expected on my last forecast (5-10) that favored the western I-70 corridor and northern areas towards Steamboat (reported 6-8 Monday morning). Alyeska resort scored 11 inches of powder with patrol popping ropes on Monday.
Below: Powderchaser Steve inflight to Anchorage via Seattle (Sunset about midway through the flight).
Where to Chase Powder?
The next few days feature some chase options in the PNW, northern Idaho, and BC (Western areas are favored). The initial surge of moisture for the PNW will be warm with snow levels at or near the bases Tuesday. The northern Cascades near Mt Baker will see 3,000 foot snow levels, while further south towards White Pass or Crystal may see them rise to 4,000. Tuesday will be wet and likely deep at the mid-elevations or summits, especially for areas in Washington (Olympics and northern Cascade ranges are favored). It’s possible that 12-16 inches fall in these areas by late Tuesday (Dense snow). Oregon will only grab moderate amounts (Mt Hood and Timberline). Baker might report the deepest totals by late Tuesday (12-16). Selkirk Powder Guides in northern Idaho should score well on this storm and they have had fresh powder up there the last couple days for the cat ski groups! They have some seats available for cat skiing over the next week. However, seat availability is subject to change, so please check in with them. Make sure to follow @selkirkpowder Instagram as well.
The most interesting phase of this storm comes late Tuesday to Wednesday as temps cool with snow levels crashing to 2,000 feet. Moisture is weaning during this period. With lower temps and higher snow ratios (Liquid to snow) it’s possible that with even .50 inches of water, you grab 12 inches of overnight snow for Wednesday. The winds veer from the S- SW (Northern or central Cascades) to the West which will favor the central or southern Cascades. If Puget Sound Convergence zones form (Area of moist circulation merging from north and south forming lift and moisture) Tuesday night it’s likely that areas from Stevens Pass, I-90 resorts (Alp- SQ), and even Crystal (Wildcard) report good numbers and high quality for Wednesday morning. PSCZ are sometimes a bit hard to predict, but with this system, all the ingredients are there for that wildcard. If It happens late Tuesday or especially early Wednesday our expectation is for 5-11 inches of additional snow Tuesday night. This might be the best time to start chasing a bit further south to the central Cascades. Let’s hope it happens.
Bottom Line PNW– Ride Tuesday at upper elevations. Northern or Central Washington resorts especially Baker and Whistler are favored (Stevens Wildcard). Warm temps will provide funk at the bottom and dense snow further up. Tuesday could be a good day with Wednesday much colder and better quality. Snow totals might be higher Tuesday (Wetter portion of the storm) but if PSCZ’s form there will be some Wednesday surprises for better quality especially north of Interstate 90.
Moisture funnels into the interior of BC Tuesday/Wednesday (5-10) and northern Idaho near Ski Lookout, Silver, Selkirk Powder, and Schweitzer. Northern Montana may also see moderate snow near Whitefish. These areas might be worth chasing late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
On Wednesday we will see that system drive south albeit weakening over the Teton Range (4-8) northern Utah (Wildcard), and northern Colorado. It currently does not appear to be a major event in the models but needs to be watched. This might even skip over Utah passing just north into Wyoming into Colorado.
Bottom Line Rockies etc. Chase north, including Idaho, Montana, interior BC, and even the Tetons (Wildcard) Tuesday PM to Wednesday. The deeper numbers might only land in the far northern areas of Idaho or Montana. The coastal areas of the PNW will be a deeper chase if you can swing it. Interior areas might not see as much snow but quality could be better due to colder temps initially (northern Idaho or interior BC).
High pressure settles into the west after the midweek storm, however, there is a hint of a system possibly kicking off some more snow for the Sierra or southern PNW by Friday or Saturday in my extended outlook.
Below: Decent trough off the BC coast pushing into Washington and northern Oregon by Tuesday and Wednesday this week (Forecast above). This system is fairly moist and will bring some decent totals to the upper elevations of coastal BC and Washington (Oregon wildcard).
Below: On Wednesday that system has pushed east of the Cascades, and is over the northern Rockies. It is likely to weaken and bring some moisture to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado by Wednesday.
Below: Late this week ( February 11th) it’s possible a trough moves into the Sierra. The American GFS is shown here. The European takes it a bit further north in Oregon. There is uncertainty on track with decent confidence of some moisture late this week or early this weekend over California.
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See you on the first chair on Wednesday.- Powderchaser Steve
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Image Credits: Mt. Hood Meadows(Featured Image), Stevens Pass, Powderchasers