One more blue-sky day on Thursday under a ridge of high-pressure. A Pacific low-pressure trough will push in from the west early on Friday and encamp itself across the Rockies through Sunday morning. This system looks to have an upslope component so the heaviest snowfall will be on east facing slopes where storm totals up to 25cm are possible. Unsettled skies Sunday may add additional amounts.
Short Term Forecast
Below: Blue skies and immaculate corduroy at Nakiska on Thursday morning. Nakiska historically is in prime position for upslope easterly winds and looks to have a decent chance for significant snowfall through the weekend.
Thursday: Sunny skies in the morning will transition to increased cloud cover during the afternoon hours as the next weather system moves towards the Rockies from the west. Daytime alpine temps at 2200m will range from -3C at the SkiBig3 resorts to 0C at Nakiska, PPK, and Castle Mountain. Light W/SW winds, with ridgetop gusts to 30 kph at Castle Mountain on Thursday. Freeze levels will range from 1800m to 2000m.
Friday: A Pacific low-pressure system will move into the Rockies beginning Friday morning spreading cloud cover with widespread flurries developing Friday afternoon with some trace amounts along the Divide. Cooler with alpine high temps at 2200m of -3C to -5C. Light westerly winds on Friday.
Saturday: A stronger wave of moisture overnight on Friday looks to work with a cold upslope component bringing periods of moderate snowfall especially along east facing slopes. Nakiska, Norquay, and Sunshine could see overnight accumulations of 5 – 15cm, with 3 – 6cm for the other resorts across the Rockies. Skies remain unsettled during the day on Saturday as the trough of low-pressure brings mainly cloud cover with isolated flurries during the day with trace amounts to 3cm possible for all resorts. Alpine high temps (2200m) will be -2C south to -4C north (of Banff). Light west winds.
Sunday & Monday: Weather models indicate the possibility of heavier upslope snow showers redeveloping overnight Saturday and continuing into the day on Sunday generally from Banff south through K-Country and the South Rockies. Norquay, Nakiska, Powderkeg, and Castle could see an additional 5 – 15cm from Saturday night through the day on Sunday. Sunshine may also see 3 – 7cm. Besides the periods of snowfall for the aforementioned resorts, generally cloudy skies will be had on Sunday as a ridge of high-pressure begins to build. Cooler temps with highs at 2200m around -6C. Light E/NE winds. The ridge continues to build on Monday looking to deliver a mix of sun and cloud with continued below seasonal average temps with alpine highs at 2200m around -5C. Light W/SW winds.
Below: The latest Canadian model for projected snowfall over BC and AB through 10AM (MT) on Sunday. If you look closely you can see where snowfall intensifies east of the BC/AB border (also Continental Divide) as upslope conditions enhance snowfall.
Tuesday 3/28 through Friday 3/31
The Alberta Rockies looks to lie in between two low pressure systems, one across the US Pacific Northwest and one over Manitoba to the east. This could bring a return of upslope snowfall in the Tuesday/Wednesday time frame from Banff south to Castle Mountain. High-pressure looks likely to build late Wednesday and into Thursday. By the end of next week, a return of a SW flow could bring more snowfall into the forecast. Slightly cooler than seasonal average temps through the period with highs at 2200m -2C to -4C.
Below: Midnight Monday 3/27 through 0600 (MT) Saturday 4/1. We'll be keeping an eye on that rather obvious broad trough of low-pressure descending from the north into the Alberta Rockies on Friday 3/31 into Saturday 4/1.
Thanks for tuning in. Next update, Saturday March 25.
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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