British Columbia Daily Snow
By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 7, 2023
Whitewater, Big White, and Kicking Horse are coming in with the deepest totals on Thursday AM. Snow will continue across Southeast BC on Thursday with Fernie seeing the heaviest snowfall. The next storm will arrive over the weekend with Coastal BC & Whistler favored Saturday PM and the Interior on Sunday AM. The pattern is trending dry for the week of Dec 11th-15th.
Short Term Forecast
- Snow will continue across Southeast BC during the day on Thursday with Fernie receiving the deepest totals.
- A large number of ski resorts in BC are expected to open on Friday or Saturday, and terrain may be more limited than usual due to a below-average start to the snow season.
- The next storm will impact BC on Saturday and into early Sunday with low snow levels and dry/powdery snow quality for the most part.
- Snow totals Saturday-Sunday will range from 10-30 cm across the Coast Range and 5-20 cm across the Interior, with the North Shore resorts, Whistler, and Revelstoke looking most favored for now.
- The window of snowfall for the Coast Range will be late Saturday morning to Saturday night. Saturday afternoon will offer the best conditions before a warm-up at the end of the storm on Sunday AM.
- The window of snowfall for the Interior will be Saturday night through Sunday morning, with Sunday morning offering the best skiing conditions.
Snow totals (based on limited reports) across the Interior on Thursday morning include 18 cm (7") at Big White, 14 cm (6") at Kicking Horse, 8 cm (3") at Panorama, and 7 cm (3") at Revelstoke.
Kicking Horse has picked up 21 cm (8") in 48 hours and is set to open for this season on Friday.
Whitewater is not reporting snow yet this season, but their (admittedly hard to read) snow stake cam indicates they received close to 25 cm (10") at the base. Whitewater is also opening for the season on Friday.
Somewhat surprisingly, Whistler also managed to pick up 15 cm (6") of snow at mid-mountain on Wednesday morning on the colder backside of the storm. This should make for some nice skiing conditions late this week.
Fernie is only reporting 3 cm (1") of new snow on Thursday morning, but the storm is just getting started there and webcams indicate that snowfall rates have picked up significantly since the early AM report. It looks like rain may still be falling at the base, but snow levels will drop over the course of the day.
Forecast for Thursday:
Snow will continue to fall across Southeast BC during the day on Thursday, before slowly tapering off toward the end of the day.
Here is what I'm expecting for additional snow totals during the day on Thursday:
- 12-25 cm (5-10") at Fernie
- 8-18 cm (3-8") at Kimberley
- 8-18 cm (3-8") at Panorama
- 5-15 cm (2-6") at Whitewater
Snow quality will be on the denser side initially before trending lower density toward the end on Thursday afternoon. Hopefully, this will help to bury the rain crusts, but we'll need to come in closer to the high-end of the range for this to happen.
It looks like Fernie is shutting down for the day on Thursday to reassess conditions after Wednesday's rain event and to allow for new snow to accumulate. Therefore, Friday AM will be the call to ski fresh snow at Fernie, and also at Whitewater, Kicking Horse, and Panorama who will be opening for the season.
Elsewhere, a weak disturbance will bring scattered light snow showers/flurries to the remainder of Southern BC on Thursday-Thursday night, but snowfall will be light and spotty, ranging from 0-5 cm (0-2"). Snow levels will be below ski resort base areas with any of this snow shower activity.
Forecast for Friday:
We will see a break in the pattern with cold temperatures and partly to mostly cloudy skies, along with isolated flurries for some areas. Several areas (mentioned above) will be opening for the season, so get out there to enjoy the fresh snow from recent days, and be cautious with early-season conditions in place (snowpack is below average).
Forecast for Saturday to Sunday:
A storm will bring snow to all major regions of BC over the weekend, and cold air in place will ensure that snow levels stay below ski resort base areas across the board.
There are still some question marks regarding the exact storm track and the position of the jet stream, which will influence snowfall distribution. But at the moment, this looks like it will be a decent storm for most areas at a minimum, especially with cold air in place.
Since my last post, the timing of the storm has trended a little bit later compared to prior expectations.
Snow will begin across Northwest BC and Vancouver Island early on Saturday morning, but Whistler and the North Shore Mountains will see most of its snow from late Saturday morning through Saturday night, and the Interior from Saturday evening through Monday morning.
Coast Range & Whistler – Snow totals are expected to range from 10-20 cm (4-8") at Whistler and Mt. Washington, and 15-30 cm (6-12") across the North Shore Mountains. Winds will be gusty across the higher terrain but not terrible.
While some of this snow will accumulate overnight on Saturday night, I would target Saturday afternoon for the best conditions because warmer air will arrive at the tail end of this storm on Sunday morning with freezing levels rising to 900-1200 meters.
Whistler mid-mountain may be best on Sunday morning once winds decrease a bit, though heavy cloud cover may continue to limit visibility. Monday will offer decreasing clouds, better visibility, and slightly colder temperatures.
Interior & Powder Highway – I'm still seeing some model disagreement across the Interior. For now, I like 10-20 cm (4-8") at Revelstoke, and some other areas may see similar totals depending on the storm track, but I'll hold off on those details for now.
Sunday morning will offer the best chance to catch some fresh tracks, and the new snow will be blower quality with cold air in place.
Here is a "middle of the road" projection for all of BC from the Canadian Model. Stay tuned for a more dialed snow forecast in future posts.
Next week is trending much drier as medium-range models are coming into agreement that a ridge of high pressure will become the dominant pattern over Western North America. A weak storm is possible around December 13th-14th (next Wed-Thu), but snowfall potential with this storm has trended toward minimal amounts.
It does look like temperatures will stay reasonably cold next week at least, which means that areas that make snow will be able to do so. High temps will stay below freezing at mid-mountain of Interior ski resorts, and most likely at Whistler too (though we could approach freezing there on a couple of days).
The North Shore resorts near Vancouver will see warmer temperatures, however, with daytime highs above freezing.
The Canadian and American ensemble models hint that a stormy pattern could return by the weekend of December 16th-17th, while the European ensemble model suggests this pattern change may hold off until the week of December 18th.
Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Friday (December 8).
Create Custom Snow Alerts
Stay up-to-date and never miss another powder day with custom snow report and forecast alerts for your favorite ski resorts.
- Go to any ski resort screen.
- Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right.
- Tap "Add Alert".
- Set your 24-hour snow report and/or forecast threshold.
You can also go to Settings > Notifications > Report & Forecast Alerts in the OpenSnow app to edit any snow alert that you have already created.
Get Started → Add Snow Alerts