The western US and Canada will get snow through Monday, December 4th and cold air will hang around through about December 8th. Then the weather in the west will turn warm and stay dry through mid-December while the cold air and some snow will head east. In the east, expect a lot of snowmaking and terrain openings between December 7-15 and this will continue into the third week of December.
Short Term Forecast
As we move into early and mid-December, our legs are itching to make turns and ski real terrain. The most terrain open in the US is at Grand Targhee, Wyoming. They are 100% open from top-to-bottom thanks to 136 inches of snow that has fallen so far this season.
To keep tabs on which areas and mountains have the most open terrain, you can view our snow report comparison pages grouped by season pass or state:
Epic Pass – 40-50% of terrain open at Kirkwood, California and Whistler, British Columbia. Generally 5-20% elsewhere. See the data: http://opensnow.com/region/epicpass/reports
Mountain Collective – 30-70% of terrain open in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Alberta, Canada and California, United States. See the data: http://opensnow.com/region/mountaincollective/reports
Max Pass – 20-40% of terrain open in the northeast and 100% at Snoqualmie, Washington. See the data: http://opensnow.com/region/maxpass/reports
British Columbia, Canada – 25-60% open terrain
Alberta, Canada – 35-75% open terrain
Washington – 25-100% open terrain
Oregon – 25% open terrain
Montana – 25-50% open terrain
Wyoming – 30-100% open terrain
California – 10-50% open terrain
Idaho – 10-45% open terrain
Colorado – 5-10% open terrain (50-60% at Monarch & Wolf Creek)
Utah – 2-10% open terrain
This week's forecast
A storm will bring snow to the central and northern Rockies from Sunday through Monday evening. The deepest totals of 6-12 inches will be in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and northern Utah. Colorado should be in the range of 3-6 inches.
In the wake of the storm moving through the west, temperatures will stay chilly throughout the west which should allow for a few days of efficient snowmaking. But notice in the graphic below that as the west stays chilly (dotted circle), very cold air will head to the east (solid line with arrow).
The storm that will bring snow to the west on December 3-4 will bring rain to the east around December 6. But then, in the wake of the storm, the west will dry out while all of the action stays in the east.
All weather model forecasts from about December 7-15 show cold air in the east with multiple chances for snow while the west is warm and dry.
This weather pattern is great for the east where snowmaking will ramp up and there is a great chance that most mountains will have a lot of open terrain by the second and third week of December.
This weather pattern is not great for the west where there will be little change in the amount of terrain available through at least the 2nd or 3rd week in December. If you have holiday travel plans to ski in the west, there is some terrain that is open, and there is a chance for the weather pattern will start changing around the third week in December, but we'll need a lot of luck for the pattern to change fast enough to get a lot more terrain open for the holidays.
Thanks for reading and check in next Sunday, December 10th for an updated weekly outlook. In the meantime, our local forecasts update their 'Daily Snow' posts each day, and here is a full list of these daily write-ups: http://opensnow.com/forecasts
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