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The Colorado Daily Snow

Snow & Powder Forecasts for Colorado
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Doing OK in Split Flow

Summary

The northern mountains continued to pick up light snow on Saturday and Saturday night. The entire state of Colorado will transition to dry weather from Monday through Thursday, then the next storm could bring light to moderate accumulations from Thursday night through Saturday, with another storm possible around Monday 1/18. 

 

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Details

The west and northwest flow continued to deliver light to moderate snowfall to central and northern Colorado on Saturday and Saturday night. Most models underestimate the amount of snow that can fall in this type of weather pattern as they forecasted about one inch during the last day or two. In fact, two-day totals for many of the central and northern mountains are in the 3-6 inch range, with Steamboat measuring 9 inches. Of this nine inches, five inches accumulated on Saturday night at Steamboat, and it looks pretty fluffy. Should be a great morning with these new flakes on top of a base made soft by four day’s worth of consistent light snow. 

Source: Steamboat

 

I love when readers send me pictures or videos of their powder quests, and here is a video I recently received from Eric Hvoslef which shows footage from a few weekends of unguided riding at Silverton during late December.

 

Looking over the past five days, snowfall across Colorado has been quite respectable. Multi-day amounts in the central and northern mountains are in the 6-12 inch range, and the southern mountains have received 6-18 inches.

This is good snowfall, especially considering that our current weather pattern is NOT conducive to consistent snow here in Colorado. This current pattern features an area of storminess over the northern Pacific Ocean, and then the storm track splits with some energy going north into Canada and other energy staying to our south. We are stuck in the middle, and often this can result in long stretches of dry weather.

Source: Weatherbell.com

 

Luckily, the storm during the last few days came close enough to deliver snow to 

all of Colorado, and I think we’ll see similar luck with the next few storms. I don’t see any monster storms coming up, nor do I see any prolonged periods of cold and stormy weather like we had around Christmas. But, if we can get a storm to sneak down the middle of this split flow and bring us some snow, every 4-6 days, I would call that a big win for us in the current weather pattern. Like I said, we could easily see dry and warm weather from this type of setup, so I am thankful that the atmosphere is aligned in such a way to keep refreshing our slopes, even if we have to wait for a bit in between each storm.

Speaking of storms, after dry days on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and likely Thursday, the next three chances for a storm will be from Thursday evening 1/14 through Saturday 1/16, then again on Monday 1/18, and perhaps again the following week, around Thursday 1/21 or Friday 1/22. I don’t have much confidence in the details of any of these systems, and like I mentioned above, we are stuck in the middle of the storm track and these storms could miss us to the north or south. However, the last few days of model runs from most models show at least some snow for some part of the state with each of these systems, so I am hopeful that we will keep adding flakes to our snowpack. The next storm, from Thursday night to Saturday, may focus more on central and northern Colorado.

Right now, the snowpack across Colorado is doing pretty well, with 90-110% of average for the central and northern mountains and 115-130% for the southern mountains.

Source: USDA

 

In the graphic below, you can see this year’s snowpack tracking steadily upward. If we can keep notching that dark blue line up every 4-5 days, and make it through January with near average snowpack, that would be AWESOME in my mind as January is typically a dry month for Colorado during an El Nino winter. 

Source: USDA

 

Since it’s now mid winter and I know a lot of you are heading into the backcountry, I wanted to let you know about this awesome video series created by Backcountry Access. The series includes short safety videos covering Avalanche Avoidance, Avalanche Rescue, learnings from Avalanche Accidents, and feature Alaskan heli guide Lel Tone and TGR athlete Colter Hinchliffe. This is an awesome resource, and I think it’s well worth our time, whether as a review or as new information: http://backcountryaccess.com/learn-avalanche-safety/

I hope you have a great Sunday playing in the snow!

JOEL GRATZ

PS - We just opened a contest to win a jacket/pant setup from Strafe Outwear. See a picture of the gear and enter the contest here: http://opensnow.com/contest

 

Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Along the Divide
Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek (Telluride and Silverton are on the northern side of the southern mountains)


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