British Columbia Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest British Columbia Daily Snow

By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 1 month ago February 28, 2024

Deep Cycle Underway with Amazing Conditions

Summary

Tuesday night's storm came in even stronger than expected with Whistler reporting 50 cm and Revelstoke 29 cm! Heavy snow will continue Wed-Wed night with some areas seeing a density change with rising snow level. A cold front barrels through the Interior on Thursday with additional snow favoring Eastern & Southern BC. Frequent light refreshes & cold temps expected Friday & beyond.

Short Term Forecast

This is shaping up to be the best week of the season across Southern BC thanks to multiple strong storms. The first cycle from Saturday AM through Tuesday AM delivered the goods to the Northern Interior with Kicking Horse picking up 77 cm (31") and Revelstoke 49 cm (20"). 

The daytime period on Tuesday brought a period of clearing in between storm cycles and skiers and riders were out enjoying the deep powder:

Wednesday AM Snow Totals:

A strong storm began on Tuesday night and overnight totals were even deeper than expected across the Coast Range and parts of the Interior. Whistler was the big winner with 50 cm (20") of new snow, nearly all of which fell after lifts closed on Tuesday!

Revelstoke picked up 29 cm (12") of snow overnight as well, enough to bury Gnorm the Powder Gnome (27 cm tall).

Coast Range 24-hour snow totals:

  • 50 cm (20") - Whistler
  • 34 cm (14") - Mt. Seymour
  • 31 cm (12") - Grouse Mountain
  • 30 cm (12") - Cypress Mountain
  • 30 cm (12") - Sasquatch Mountain
  • 24 cm (10") - Manning Park
  • 20 cm (8") - Mt. Washington
  • 13 cm (5") - Mt. Cain
  • 11 cm (4") - Mt. Washington

Interior 24-hour snow totals:

  • 29 cm (12") - Revelstoke
  • 20 cm (8") - Whitewater
  • 20 cm (8") - Silver Star
  • 17 cm (7") - Fernie
  • 16 cm (6") - Big White
  • 11 cm (4") - Red Mountain
  • 6 cm (2") - Apex
  • 4 cm (1.5") - Kicking Horse
  • 4 cm (1.5") - Sun Peaks
  • 3 cm (1") - Panorama
  • 3 cm (1") - Kimberley

Northern BC 24-hour snow totals:

  • 14 cm (6") - Powder King
  • 11 cm (4") - Shames Mountain
  • 10 cm (4") - Troll
  • 2 cm (1") - Hudson Bay Mountain

Forecast for Wednesday AM through Friday AM:

A strong storm will continue to impact Southern BC with deep snow totals across the board.

Details by region...

Coast Range & Whistler:

Wednesday – Heavy snow and gusty SSW winds can be expected throughout this period with gusts to 100-130 km/hour in Whistler's alpine terrain.

Snow levels will start low but a warm front will arrive with snow levels rising to 900 meters (3k feet) on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in rain mixing at the base of Whistler and the North Shore resorts.

Daytime snow totals will range from 15-30 cm (6-12"). Snow will also become denser/wetter across lower terrain on Wednesday afternoon while staying low/medium density across Whistler's higher terrain.

Wednesday Night – A cold front will move through on Wednesday evening, with snow continuing behind the front as snow levels fall to 150-450 meters (500-1,500 ft.).

Overnight snow totals (behind the front) will range from 10-25 cm (4-10") and snow will transition back to low-density powder. Winds will gradually decrease overnight as well.

Thursday – Onshore flow snow showers will continue in an unstable atmosphere in the wake of Wednesday night's cold front (steep decrease in temperature with altitude) and winds will also be much lighter.

Daytime snow totals will range from 2-10 cm (1-4") with snow levels ranging from 150-450 meters (500-1,500 ft.).

With the colder airmass in place along with lighter winds, Thursday would be my call to get out and enjoy the deep powder conditions.

Thursday Night – Another disturbance will arrive from the south/southwest with snow picking back up again. Snowfall overnight will range from 7-15 cm (3-6") at Whistler and on Vancouver Island and 12-25 cm (5-10") for the North Shore Resorts. Snow levels will also dip close to sea level.

Total Snowfall Wednesday AM to Friday AM (not including what fell Tuesday night):

  • 40-80 cm (16-32") - Manning Park
  • 35-70 cm (14-28") - Whistler
  • 32-65 cm (13-26") - Sasquatch
  • 30-60 cm (12-24") - Cypress, Grouse, Seymour
  • 15-30 cm (6-12") - Mt. Washington and Mt. Cain

Skiing Conditions – Wednesday will be a storm skiing day with strong winds and snow turning upside down. Still a fun powder day, just note the above caveats. Thursday looks amazing with lower-density snow, colder temps, and lighter winds. Friday and beyond also look amazing.

Travel – High-impact travel conditions can be expected from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning, and again on Friday morning with accumulating snow on the roads along with blowing snow. Wednesday afternoon may offer some reprieve in the valleys as temperatures rise briefly.

Interior & Powder Highway:

Wednesday – Heavy snow and gusty SSW winds can be expected throughout this period with gusts to 80-100 km/hour in alpine terrain.

Snow levels will start low but a warm front will arrive with snow levels rising to 900-1050 meters (3-3.5k feet) by last chair on Wednesday afternoon, so snow conditions will start to turn a bit upside down with increasing snow density.

Wednesday Night – Heavy snow and strong winds will continue through the overnight hours in the warm sector of this storm (behind the warm front and ahead of the cold front). Snow levels will peak around 1200 meters (4k feet) for most of the region overnight.

The cold front will eventually reach west and northwest portions of the Interior (Okanagan region and Revelstoke) by late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning with snow levels starting to drop in these areas by sunrise on Thursday.

Thursday – Snow will continue on Thursday with the focus of the heaviest snowfall rates expected across southern and eastern BC as the cold front works its way across the Interior from NW to SE. The front will eventually reach Fernie by mid-afternoon.

Snow levels will drop below most ski resort base areas behind the front during the daytime hours on Thursday, but Fernie and Southeast BC will see snow levels around 1200-1350 meters (4-4.5k feet) before the front finally arrives toward the end of the day.

A band of heavy snow is expected along the front (lasting for 2-3 hours in most areas), then snow will become more intermittent behind the front. However, there is potential for some localized bands of heavy snow to develop behind the front, which could lead to somewhat random snow totals, but will generally favor eastern and southern portions of the Interior (Red, WW, Pano, KH).

Snow will also trend lower-density and more powdery behind the cold front. Winds will not be as strong on Thursday compared to Wednesday, but will still be quite gusty even behind the front with alpine gusts of 50-70 km/hour out of the west to west/southwest.

Thursday Night – Snow showers will favor Southern and Southeast BC (Red to WW to Fernie especially) overnight, both in the wake of the previous storm and in response to another weaker storm approaching from the south/southwest.

Snow levels will drop to valley bottoms throughout the Interior overnight.

Total Snowfall Wednesday AM to Friday AM (not including what fell Tuesday night):

Here is my updated snow forecast, which covers the 48-hour period ending first thing Friday AM:

Here is the breakdown by 24-hour periods:

Here is a projection from a blend of weather models:

Skiing Conditions – Wednesday is going to be a deep storm skiing day at Revelstoke, Whitewater, Red, Fernie, Big White, and Silver Star especially with other areas catching up as the day progresses. Snow quality will be amazing early, but will start to turn upside down over the last couple of hours of the day.

Winds will be an issue on Wednesday, however, and this could impact lift operations in higher-elevation alpine terrain.

Thursday will also be a fun storm skiing day though conditions will be somewhat variable (relatively speaking of course) by location in terms of wind, temperature, density changes, and snowfall rates.

Friday and onward looks outstanding with additional refills on the way, along with colder temps, better snow quality, and lighter winds.

Travel – Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass (and other high passes especially near the BC/AB border) will see their highest impact conditions from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning, with additional moderate impacts from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. Be prepared for potential pass closures due to avalanche control.

Lower valley roads will see impacts on Wednesday morning, and again on Thursday night/Friday morning once temperatures drop again.

 

Extended Forecast

Frequent weaker storms will arrive from the south/southwest from Friday through Sunday. While we aren't expecting widespread deep snow totals from these storms, they will provide nice refreshes of low-density powder and winds will also be lighter. 

These storms will favor Southwest BC (North Shore resorts and Whistler) as well as the Southern and Western Interior (Red, Whitewater, Fernie, Revelstoke, Okanagan resorts).

Winds aloft will be out of the south to south/southwest on Friday and Saturday, then will turn more WSW on Sunday which could be more favorable for areas such as Kicking Horse compared to Fri-Sat if moisture makes it that far north.

Frequent cold and weak storms are expected to arrive on a near daily basis from the southwest heading into the first half of next week at least, and snow levels will remain very low throughout this period. This is great news as this will help to keep snow conditions soft and consistent.

Thanks so much for reading and hope you can get out and enjoy the best conditions of the season! 

Next update on Thursday (Feb 29).

Alan Smith 

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About Our Forecaster

Alan Smith

Meteorologist

Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been working in the private sector since 2013. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating.

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