A great run of snowfall has impacted nearly every ski area in Colorado and Utah and will continue at times over the next 24 hours. A more significant storm may impact the southern Rockies late this weekend.
Short Term Forecast
We jumped from Fall to a winter like pattern in the past several days with up to 22 inches being reported in some spots in the past 3 days.
The southern mountains of Utah were nailed earlier in the period with folks chasing to Brian Head (hiking) for what looked like legit powder!
Arizona Snowbowl grabbed moderate snow.
In Colorado, Silverton unofficially 1-2 FEET and Wolf Creek around 20 inches. The Wolf will start to spin lifts as early as this Saturday. Nearly every ski area in Colorado and Utah has seen decent snowfall in the past several days with the highest amounts in the 4 corners or in Northern Utah.
On Wednesday, the Wasatch woke up to winter-like conditions with 3-4 inches per hour being reported in the Cottonwoods.
Brighton reported 22 inches (Snow telemetry showed 12-13). We suspect the 22 was a hand measurement on a different aspect of the mountain.
Little Cottonwood looked really deep Wednesday morning in the 15-inch range at the base of Snowbird.
Park City scored respectable snowfall especially on the Canyons side (15 inches or more up top) who benefits from NW wind direction. We were able to get our first turns of the season with the powder pooch Noodle the doodle.
Somehow to our surprise, Great Divide in Montana picked up 18 inches!
Above: Looking like mid-winter at Brian Head (photo courtesy of Mike Saemisch)
Above: Cottonwoods of Utah were deep on Wednesday
Crested Butte 11 "
Sun Valley 4"
Eagle Point 12"
Beaver (The Beav) 8-12
The next 24 hours will feature additional snowfall for Colorado. Models are highlighting the area towards Grand Junction (Powderhorn) pushing moisture north perhaps into Steamboat and further south in the ranges from Aspen south.
Areas around Grand Junction above 9,000 feet may score 7-10 inches where points south into Aspen or Steamboat will likely see less. Summit County should stay in the 3-6 inch range, however, the NWS has posted much higher amounts (let's hope it happens).
Beaver Creek will likely see higher amounts with a bit more moisture towards the west but its still a wildcard. It's currently snowing moderately in the Vail Valley with a quick screenshot of the Beaver Creek webcam as of 6 PM on Thursday (It never was cleared this morning and sat at 3-4 inches).
The 4 corners including Purgatory may fall short, however Wolf Creek could sneak out another 4-7 inches with a bit of luck. If moisture stays north the amounts will be less there.
If you are chasing powder in Colorado the highest amounts will fall during the day Thursday with a 2nd push of additional light or moderate snow in the evening. I would aim for Thursday PM or Friday AM.
Above: GFS forecast through Friday AM. (image courtesy of Weatherbell)
In the extended forecast, an interesting feature of cold air and moisture associated with a shortwave trough diving southward toward the Rockies in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado on Sunday. This may bring significant snowfall to locations favored by north or NE flow (upslope).
Taos is a wildard, where Ski Santa Fe and areas closer to the east side of the mountain ranges will see decent snowfall. There is considerable disagreement in the models still, being 4 days out. Areas in southern Colorado near or south of Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak range) will also score, unfortunately, this is not optimal for most ski areas.
Depending on how far east the storm tracks its possible to see snowfall from Monarch Pass (east side is favored) to Wolf Creek (Wildcard). Expect another update as we get closer to the weekend.
If you are out hiking, avalanche conditions can exist even with lower snowpacks! Remember, we have little base to work with so stay safe and tread lightly!
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