Snow is falling in the Sierra with 6 inches thus far at Squaw per telemetry (unofficial) and just a few inches at Mammoth. Colder air for the Cascades will make chase- worthy snowfall for Monday/Tuesday that eventually makes it into Utah Monday night. A strong system may set up over the 4 corners of Colorado and move over the Front Range late this week.
Short Term Forecast
The Cascades will see appreciable snowfall favoring the southern Washington resorts and most of Oregon from this morning through Tuesday morning. Temps have dropped snow levels to below most bases (3,000 foot snow levels). Light to moderate snow will fall through early Tuesday (3-5 Monday, 3-5 Monday night, 1-3 Tuesday) bringing totals into the 9-13 inch range before things taper at some point Tuesday. I would plan on riding late Monday or early Tuesday at Crystal, Bachelor, Timberline Lodge and whoever else is still spinning lifts. Stevens Pass is on our wildcard list with 4-8 inches likely through Tuesday morning. Its not common to see such low snow levels in mid to late April.
If your in the Sierra this morning, your waking up to some moderate snow (6 inches on snow telemetry near Squaw) with additional light accumulations through the day. The northern resorts of the Sierra range are favored.
Utah is a wildcard for Tuesday morning. Very strong winds from the SW (80 MPH gusts likely at ridge tops) will be in the cards for Monday. The only 2 resorts open midweek are Brighton and Snowbird. Alta will reopen this weekend. Cold NW flow should set up at some point over the Cottonwoods tonight into Tuesday morning. The system is lacking moisture but has decent cold air and favorable wind directions for the Cottonwoods. Little Cottonwood is favored over Big Cottonwood. The models have downtrended slightly on each run. My best estimate for snowfall Monday night is 5 inches with an additional 2-4 on Tuesday. Its possible that Snowbird land higher amounts but generally I would be surprised to see greater than 10 inches for storm totals. It's also possible amounts stay in the 4-7 inch range. The Good: Overnight snow The Bad: Warm temps in the past 24 hours and strong winds may bring back a crust layer under the lower density snow on Tuesday morning.
Below: University of Utah ensembles showing a mean forecast for Alta near 8 inches. Inconsistent agreement on the tightness of these lines (Different models) showing more or less snow from the mean. I would steer the data into the 4-9 inch range for the next 24 hours.
If your further north in the Rockies expect light to moderate snow for Bridger Bowl and Big Sky especially on Tuesday morning (3-5). The Tetons downtrended amounts from a few days ago to the 3-7 inch range. Targhee is just 1 inch shy of hitting 500 for the season. That will happen by Tuesday morning. Targhee is closed mid week and reopening this weekend.
In Colorado, moisture is being wrung out over the Cascades and western regions of the Rockies. Leftovers are going to be slim pickings. Expect a few inches with the cold front after midnight Monday that may slightly freshen up the groomers for Tuesday morning.
A significant system may pull moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico into Colorado by Friday morning. Current models show decent chances of high elevation snowfall focussing on the Front Range of Colorado (This may include Boulder, Nederland, Rocky Mountain National Park, Eisenhower Tunnel and eastern Summit). It's too far out to predict with confidence. I would plan on riding somewhere near Denver on Friday/Saturday for what may be a final push of colder air and decent conditions to end the season for us die hards that continue to reap pow. I was mountain biking in Park City yesterday. I am looking forward to summer, but will always bring the Never Summer Boards out for pow in the forecast.
Below: Sneak peak at the models for the Front Range of Denver. Total snowfall in the mountains above Boulder may exceed 20 inches per this model run. These totals will most likely change as we get closer to the 2-3 day period. Confidence is moderate that someone will land 12-18 inches in Colorado late this week. The highest totals may be just east of the Ski areas, or perhaps near Berthoud Pass or Winter Park? Rocky Mountain National Park is likely to score. Wildcard: Models will change as we get closer.
Keep your snow tires on!
Powderchaser Steve- Thanks for following the chase forecast
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