Quite the departure from my last snowy post as an amplifying ridge of high-pressure has decided to spend spring break over the Rockies. Mainly sunny skies, calm winds, comfortable alpine temps along with daily freeze/thaw cycles will be the norm through the weekend. Some cloud cover appears on Monday with flurries possible by Tuesday with only trace amounts possible.
Short Term Forecast
Below: Nothing but blue skies at Lake Louise on Friday morning.
Friday – Sunday: A well defined ridge of high-pressure will expand across the Rockies delivering a nice weekend. Skies will be mainly sunny on Friday with a mix of sun and cloud on Saturday and Sunday. The freeze/thaw cycle will be in full effect with afternoon freeze levels rising to around 1800m Friday and to around 2100m Saturday and Sunday. Temps across the alpine (at 2200m) elevations with range from -2C to -5C Friday to around 0C to -2C on Saturday and Sunday. Light W/SW winds under the ridge of high-pressure.
Monday – Tuesday: The dominant ridge of high-pressure appears to flatten on Monday 3/20 as a Pacific trough moves in from the SW. This trough is part of another wet storm system that will be moving through California so models are having a hard time agreeing on the tracking and strengths of any disturbances that may be ejected north by this large low-pressure circulation. The best scenario (for new snow) is the Canadian model that brings a weak system just north of the border Monday night into Tuesday that offers a slight chance of accumulating snow for the South Rockies (Castle Mtn) in the 2 – 5cm range. Besides all the questions with forecast, let’s go with climatology (essentially an average) with increasing cloud cover on Monday and clouds and isolated flurries on Tuesday. The SW flow will keep temps right around seasonal average with highs at 2200m -2C to -4C. Light E/NE winds.
Below: High-pressure builds Friday and Saturday, weakening slightly on Sunday as a trough of low-pressure moves into the South Rockies by late Monday and into the rest of the range on Tuesday.
Tuesday PM 3/21 – Saturday 3/25
The Pacific low-pressure trough looks to slowly advance northward Tuesday night into Wednesday bringing our best chance for more widespread accumulating snowfall across the Rockies. Not a ton of snow but mainly light accumulations (trace – 5cm) are possible through Wednesday. A slight break on Thursday is followed by another Pacific trough Thursday PM into Friday bringing better chances of measurable snow into Saturday morning. Slightly cooler through the period under predominant cloud cover with highs at 2200m -4C to -6C.
Below: Let's pick up the Canadian model below at 1700 local time on Tuesday as a trough of low-pressure looks to bring some possible accumulating snowfall from the South Rockies north to the Banff region on Wednesday. A slight break on Thursday is followed by another, possibly stronger system on Friday into Saturday morning.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend, next update, Sunday March 19.
Alberta Rockies Ski Resorts & Areas / North & South “Regions” are solely for Geographic References in my forecasts…
North Region: ( * denotes SkiBig3 resorts )
*Banff/Sunshine Village OPEN daily
*Lake Louise Ski Resort OPEN daily
*Mt Norquay OPEN daily
Marmot Basin OPEN daily
Castle Mountain OPEN daily
Fortress / KPOW Cat Skiing OPEN - see link for booking
Nakiska OPEN daily
Pass Powderkeg OPEN (Weds thru Sun) Closes for the season March 26th with the PPK Slush Cup.
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