Quick update at 900pm Friday night
My Thursday morning post talked about the uncertainty with the "blob" of a storm that would come through from Thursday afternoon through Friday, and to keep expectations low but there could be a few surprises.
Well, the surprises are continuing. First is was the Thursday night snowfall at Vail, Beaver Creek, and Sunlight, and now on Friday, Aspen got into the action as a narrow band of precipitation moved south of the above-mentioned areas. Also, I saw on the snow-stake cams that Beaver Creek and Breckenridge saw higher-than expected accumulations on Friday afternoon as this band of snow apparently moved back north just a hair.
Most of the global and local models did show the potential for some of these bands of heavier snow to occur, but it's not yet possible to rely on these models to accurately show the position of these bands down to within a few miles (a few miles is the difference between 6-8 inches of snow and just an inch or two). This is super frustrating from a science perspective, but if you're on the receiving end of this "bonus" snowfall, I'm sure you're not too concerned about the science right now:-)
Looking ahead, the upcoming storm is on track to bring snow to all of Colorado through the weekend, and likely continuing through next Wednesday, March 4th. Some mountains will get more than others (more details in this morning's post: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/colorado/post/3626), and much of the powder will be on the denser side. But think about the big perspective for a moment. We went most of January and half of February without consistent snowfall. And then most mountains had multiple powder days during the last 7 days, and there will likely be multiple powder days during the next 7 days. Pretty awesome. We will likely transition back to dry weather starting late next week, so go out and get the powder while it's fresh.
I have received a lot of emails from people across the country checking on the forecast for Wolf Creek and Taos in particular (these areas have some of the highest predicted snowfall totals during the upcoming storm). This signifies to me that powder fever is taking over and that a LOT of people will be heading to southern Colorado and New Mexico over the next few days. This is awesome, and just remember that there are many mountains to ski/ride in this area, including Purgatory (the original name is back!), Telluride (they don't often get a lot of snow from southwest flow, but maybe they can repeat from last weekend?), Silverton (not sure if they're booked in full for the weekend?), and also remember that the central and northern Colorado mountains will likely NOT be skunked and should ski well with the recent snowfall keeping the base soft.
In New Mexico, don't forget about Red River, Angel Fire, Sipapu, Ski Santa Fe, Pajarito, Sandia, and Ski Apache.
And in Arizona, Snowbowl should get the goods, as will Sunrise Park and even Mt. Lemmon.
I just wanted to give a shout out to locations other than Wolf Creek and Taos (which I've mentioned repeatedly over the last few days) because there are lots of different mountains to enjoy, and while snow totals are certainly one reason to choose a location over another, travel logistics, the feel of the mountain, crowds, and terrain should also factor into the equation.
It'll be exciting to watch this storm (really a series of waves of energy) unfold over the coming 5 days. I'll keep an eye on things tonight and write a full update on Saturday morning. But I'd rather you not read the Saturday morning update and instead just get out and ski/ride. I put down the computer today and enjoyed the silence and deep snow of the backcountry in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and it was glorious, Also, nice to meet some OpenSnow fans out there!
Enjoy your night, and see you in the morning if you're not already out there having fun in the snow.
PS - Off topic...after a fantastic few hours in the backcountry on Friday, I hit a large chunk of ice and damaged my car while driving home. So, things aren't always perfect, and stuff happens. But man, those were some good turns. So I guess it's all worthwhile:-)