It’s a powder day for almost all mountains with 8-15 inches of snow falling on Saturday night. Go get some! More snow will fall on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, favoring different mountains each day. More details below…
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I don’t need to say too much now on Sunday morning. It’s a powder day for nearly every mountain. Most areas in central and northern Colorado are reporting 8-14 inches. The southern mountains are only coming in with 4-5 inches on the 5am report, but the snow will continue to fall heavily in this area through the morning so the actual totals during first chair will be much higher than the official 5am reports.
The map below shows the increase in snow-water equivalent (SWE) from Saturday morning to Sunday morning. Most sites show an increase of between 0.7-1.0 inches, which at a 15:1 snow-to-liquid ratio equates to 10-15 inches.
Source: Dr. Andrew Slater
The highest 24-hour totals are:
Beaver Creek: 13”
Aspen Mountain / Highlands / Buttermilk: 12”
Crested Butte: 10”
Here is a time-lapse of the snow stake camera at Beaver Creek. Mmmmm, goodness!
Source: Beaver Creek, Time-lapse by OpenSnow
The snow has generally stopped north of I-70. Along I-70, we’ll see another inch or two between the 5am reports and first chair.
In the central mountains, around Aspen, Crested Butte, Sunlight, Monarch, and Irwin, we should see at least another few inches of snow through mid morning.
For the southern mountains, the snow will crank through at least midday, if not through all of the day, so the snow should get deeper with each hour.
The heavy snow that fell on Saturday night through Sunday midday was part one of the storm.
Part two of the storm will bring another round of snow from Sunday afternoon through Monday evening.
The most favored areas for deep totals during part two will be the southern mountains. For example, this storm should be a slam dunk for big totals at Wolf Creek with 2-3 feet likely between Sunday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
In the central and northern mountains, Sunday evening, Sunday night, and Monday offer some hope. Normally I would not say that when we have a wind direction from the south and east, like we’ll see during this time. However, in this case the winds will be light and the incoming storm will track more or less over the center of Colorado. This track should produce enough lift to create snow even though the wind direction is not ideal. HOWEVER, I have zero confidence in forecasting the timing or location of the heaviest snow on Sunday night and Monday in the northern and central mountains. I broad brushed the forecast with 3-5 inches during each time frame. Please consider this amount an average of what could happen with the knowledge that some locations could see much more snow and others much less.
Lastly, winds from the east should begin to create significant snowfall east of the divide on Sunday night, and this should continue all day on Monday and through Monday night.
Part three of the storm will bring winds from the north and then northwest on Tuesday through midday Wednesday. This will initially favor Powderhorn, Telluride, Silverton, and Irwin on Tuesday. As the winds change to more of a northwest direction on Tuesday night, we should see better snow at Steamboat and Vail in addition to the places I mentioned above.
The best powder days should be…
Sunday: All mountains. Go get some!
Monday: High confidence that the southern mountains will have good powder all day. The central and northern mountains MIGHT see another good powder day on Monday, but it will require luck on Sunday night and Monday and not all areas will get good snow. Areas east of the divide should get deeper through the day.
Tuesday: Mountains east of the divide should be deep. The southern mountains could have good snow once again, and snow will crank up through the day at Powderhorn, Telluride, Silverton, and Irwin.
Wednesday: This could be a sleeper pow day. Watch out at Steamboat, Vail, Powderhorn, Irwin, Telluride, and Silverton. Lower confidence along the rest of I-70 in Summit County. Wednesday interests me because there will be snow each the previous three days, so the base will be super soft and therefore even a moderate amount of new will ski very well. Also, I’ve seen powder day surprises on the backside of strong storms as they move to the east of Colorado. The models don’t forecast this well (or at all), but it can happen, so keep an eye on this.
Thursday should be dry, then northern Colorado should see a few more inches of snow on Thursday night into Friday and again on Sunday into Monday. Neither of these next two storms look to be very strong, but consistent snowfall is the name of the game when it comes to keeping snow conditions soft and fun.
In the long range, through about mid February, it looks like cold weather will setup east of Colorado with warmer weather over the Rockies and west coast. Colorado is right in the middle of this pattern and this means that we can see storms clip our state as they move from the northwest to the southeast. This pattern usually results in weak to moderate storms every few days, favoring the north and eastern areas.
Go get some pow on Sunday and check back on Monday morning for my next post. Thanks so much for reading!
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
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek (Telluride and Silverton are on the northern side of the southern mountains)