I am still hunkered down in Jackson where storm totals are at 24 inches currently. "The Hobacks were smooth with wind loaded refills all morning That's 4K vertical where could essentially point it" That's nothing compared to the Sierra that is reporting 60 inches in 2 days at Heavenly, 102 inches at the summit of Mammoth in 5 days. Colorado got slammed with the goods if you could get there (I-70 was closed at Vail Pass from an avalanche) and if your resort was open? Arapahoe Basin closed early today, Crested Butte had limited openings (Deep), and from what I am hearing Breckenridge was over the knees (Mountain Nomads report) with much of the upper mountain remaining closed. Reports from Vail were "Top 10 days" in a long time from a trustworthy local. Deer Valley reported 19 in 24 hours where Park City had 12 (Slightly higher elevation can make a big difference with wet storms and DV likes Southerly flow). There is nothing to talk about in the Sierra except it's "Nipple Deep" (Can I say that), and most resorts are with very limited openings. Sun Valley looked epic on the web cams today with several feet over the past few days. Another 5-9 feet is expected in the Sierra. My suggestion is that you choose resorts with low angle skiing or get out of dodge and hit the Rockies where ropes are dropping. "Bigger is not always better" in the short run but long term moisture is always welcome. Lets cut to the chase below in the short term forecast.
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Short Term Forecast
Above: Total snowfall through Thursday night. - Image: Weatherbell
Heavy moisture is moving into the Sierra, Central Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming currently.
Sierra: I would suggest avoiding travel in the Sierra for the next few days as strong winds, lighter density snow and 1-3 inch per hour rates are creating white out conditions. Multiple road closures will be an issue in the next 24 hours. "I would not be surprised to see an additional 40-50 inches in many locations in the Sierra through Thursday! Mammoth may see higher amounts at the summit. At lake level another 20-30 inches may fall! The Fire hose is still wide open!
Rockies/Oregon: Good opportunity exists at Mount Hood Meadows, Timberline and perhaps the Bachelor for 8-12 inches late tonight through Wednesday. Southern WA near White pass would be a wildcard.
"In the Rockies SW flow continues with my targets looking at Sun Valley, Jackson, Grand Targhee, and all resorts in the Wasatch of Utah where 12-18 inches will fall through Wednesday afternoon."
Peak times to grab deep powder will be AM at Sun Valley, and anytime during the day Wednesday in the Wasatch, and Tetons. My gut tells me that the deepest spots will be the northern Wasatch (Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Beaver, Cherry Peak) with 12-18 inches likely through late Wednesday. Park City should fare well with colder temperatures and moderate snowfall tonight and tomorrow. Little and Big Cottonwood will be sinking in the deep (9-14) but winds may impact upper lifts. Sometimes, when Snowbird is shut down on the summit I leap over to Solitude and ride the Powderhorn chair. Solitude also earns it's name with less crowds and good terrain. You cant go wrong on amounts anywhere in northern Utah so pick your resorts based on winds versus just snow totals. Your lower peaks may provide a safer bet? Thursday will be as good if not better than Wednesday with new terrain openings.
In Colorado NOAA is forecasting the heaviest snow tonight. I am not buying off on this just yet, but can say heavy snow will be falling during the day Wednesday with peak intensity coming late AM or early PM with a cold front moving quickly from north to south. Westerly winds will crank high snow totals out from Steamboat through all of Summit County, Aspen, Crested Butte, and Monarch (Good quality). The southern mountains will see less. Crested Butte and Monarch may end up winning the lottery again with Aspen close behind. Most spots along I-70 will nab 8-14 inches with higher amounts possible in Steamboat, CB, Aspen, and Monarch.
Light or moderate snow will be falling Wednesday night so chases Thursday will still be respectable especially since new terrain will be opening from being closed on Wednesday.
Total Moisture through Thursday late PM is below. Image: Weatherbell
The final wave of snowfall for the Sierra moves in on Thursday (Another 12-16 inches). That system takes a southerly track over the Rockies spreading moderate or heavy snow into the 4 corners late this week. The Sierra will see the sun for the first time perhaps on Friday? Don't expect everything to be open!
I've been chasing powder for 30 years. It's the most frustrating thing on earth but so worth it when you score big time! There is lots of opportunity out there this week! Ski areas have a ton of avalanche mitigation to complete so be patient. Patience on days like this comes with big payoff. Give your patrol a high five! Your safety is of the upmost importance. We want to see you on first chair!
Don't venture out into the backcountry without the knowledge necessary to mitigate extreme terrain traps. Even the most experienced are lost each year so with this high density snow you may do best to avoid it altogether. My suspicion is that we will hear of some unfortunate accidents this week. Stay safe and enjoy the POW.
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