Our four-day storm event is over and totals were anywhere from 5-25 inches across the state. The forecast for the next 10-15 days is for mostly dry weather and for temperatures that will be cold enough to allow snowmaking at least during the nighttime.
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Short Term Forecast
The storm that began on Saturday and ended on Tuesday night is now long gone. In its wake, it left snow on all mountain ranges of Colorado. This is the visible satellite image from Wednesday morning showing snow cover across the state (as well as low clouds and fog over the eastern areas).
On November 3rd, my forecast for this storm was for the "deepest totals of more than 20 inches in the mountains west of Crested Butte and Aspen (like Irwin and around Marble), the Flattops (north of Sunlight), the mountains north of Steamboat, and the mountains well north of Winter Park, around the Never Summer range."
The reality was that 20+ inches DID fall in the Flattops, the mountains north of Steamboat like Buff Pass, and the mountains north of Winter Park around the Never Summer range, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Cameron Pass.
However, 20+ inches DID NOT fall in the mountains west of Crested Butte and Aspen. That part of the forecast did not come to fruition as the heaviest precipitation stayed well to the north.
Below are the four-day storm totals across Colorado. Only Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are open and sharing official numbers. For every other location, I looked at backcountry SNOTEL sites to estimate totals.
Arapahoe Basin, 9"
Aspen/Snowmass, < 5"
Beaver Creek, 5-10"
Berthoud Pass, 5-10"
Cameron Pass, 15-25"
Cooper, < 5"
Copper, < 5"
Crested Butte, 4-6"
Echo, < 5"
Powderhorn, < 5"
Rocky Mountain National Park, 20"
Sunlight, < 5"
Vail, < 5"
Winter Park, 10-15"
Wolf Creek, 10"
That's quite a range across the state, from just a few inches to 25 inches. If you live in Vail or Aspen, you likely felt like this storm was a dud. And if you live in Estes Park, you likely thought that this was a perfect storm with deep totals in Rocky Mountain National Park. The variety of snow totals across Colorado is what makes forecasting snow so challenging (frustrating!) and also enjoyable. It's a tough science problem, but when we get it right, the reward is skiing pow, and that's pretty awesome.
As I showed in Wednesday's post, there was enough snow to ski powder in Rocky Mountain National Park on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, there was enough snow to ski pow on Loveland Pass.
I do not have good news for snowfall over the next 6-10 days and beyond.
Here is the precipitation forecast through next Tuesday from the most accurate weather model (on average), the European model.
The second-most-accurate model, the British model, tells the same story.
And the American model basically agrees.
The heaviest precipitation for the next week will stay over the northwest, and northern Colorado will get the scraps – perhaps a dusting to an inch this Saturday, and maybe a few flakes early/mid next week.
The little bit of silver lining is that temperatures will not be too warm, so snowmaking should continue each night, and temperatures will be cool enough on Sunday and later next week to perhaps allow round-the-clock snowmaking.
When will we see our next big storm? I have no idea. We might have to wait until around or beyond November 20th.
Even though there will be little natural snow to talk about during the next 1-2 weeks, there is always plenty of weather to discuss. I had a ton of fun presenting to a group of about 85 people at Bentgate Mountaineering in Golden on Wednesday night, and we discussed everything from how to use SNOTEL data to find the deepest powder, to the forecast for the winter, as well as what wind directions favor certain mountains.
I am giving two more talks next week – I hope you can make it! The details of time and location are below.
Thanks for reading!
Colorado Forecast Page → https://opensnow.com/state/co
Download → The OpenSnow Mobile App
I am giving a talk Colorado Springs on Wednesday, November 15th.
- Bristol Brewing, 1604 S Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
- My talk will start at 630pm
- Hosted by The Mountain Chalet, a local outdoors shop
I am giving a talk in Denver on Thursday, November 16th.
- Denver Athletic Club, 1325 Glenarm Street, Denver, CO 80204 (Centennial Room, 3rd floor)
- Doors open at 600pm, talk starts around 630pm
- $5 at the door pays for a beer and snacks, cash bar as well
- Parking available in the DAC garage for $5
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, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains
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