The PNW is about to get blasted with a very cold deep storm. This migrates through intermountain west with powder days possible Friday-Sunday.
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Today would have been the perfect day to get out on the slopes in Washington as Stevens reopens (2 feet new) and Crystal somehow nabbed another 9 inches last night (16 in 24 hours). Enjoy!
What looks like the perfect storm for the Cascades (Very cold temps, deep snow) the only caveat is winds that peak late Thursday and again Friday morning (Peak snowfall intensity). 2-3 feet are very likely for the Cascades through Saturday morning. The favored areas for Thursday will be Mt Baker and perhaps Stevens Pass with 5-12 inches of snow likely by noon. Further south might see 4-8 inches (Crystal). Storm ski Thursday however winds in the afternoon might play a role in what lifts are spinning. The real action comes from Thursday night to Friday.
On Thursday night snowfall ramps up under NW flow crushing a wide area of the Cascade Range from Washington through Oregon. Friday will be deep in many areas of both States. The favored areas under this regime will be the central and southern regions of Washington through most of the Oregon Cascades. Look for 12-18 inch overnight snow totals and blower continuing through Friday. Caveat: Strong W-NW winds gusts in the '60s are likely to present challenges on some upper mountain lifts, and extensive avalanche mitigation. It's a gamble that could bring your best run of the season to waiting for chairs to open all day. Perhaps stick to lower elevation areas along I-90 or less exposed terrain. The Interior Cascades grab decent amounts as well as areas near Selkirk Powder near Sandpoint (6-12 by Friday morning). The central Idaho Pandhandle will also be very deep by late Friday. Bottom Line: Deep snow is guaranteed! Winds may play some tricks. Temps are cold!
For the rest of the west moisture streams in albeit light for Utah and Wyoming for Wednesday and Thursday. Another system is developing over the Front Range of Colorado that should bring 4-8 inches to the Front Range metro areas by Thursday morning. The Ski Areas are outside the realm of chasable snow with perhaps Eldora reporting 2-5 inches Thursday morning (Wildcard). Some light snow will be falling further west over Berthoud Pass and areas along the Divide (Loveland). Stay east for the best chance of powder.
Looking out for the Friday to Sunday realm, there are decent odds of the Tetons picking up 4-8 inches both Friday and Saturday (8-16 storm totals) with 5-9 inches likely for Big Sky and Bridger. The Wasatch will score powder on Saturday morning albeit amounts could be a bit less (6-12 through late Saturday). Mountains in the northern Wasatch such as Powder, perhaps Beaver, and even the Canyons side of Park City might do pretty well with this system, however by no means is it a major event. Need to watch the Cottonwoods for any uptick surprises with NW flow. Western Idaho sneaks in 5-10 inches perhaps near or just east of Brundage Friday.
For Colorado disagreement between models exists. I have high confidence in snowfall late Friday to Saturday along the I-70 corridor. The Euro is pessimistic on amounts while the GFS is a bit higher. Currently, it appears to be a modest event with a continuous period of light snow from late Friday through Saturday. NW flow and cold temps could land some deeper surprises especially west towards Vail Pass, however, the model data is currently only showing 5-9 inches by your last chair Saturday. Sunday might see some additional orographic snow showers (Ride Saturday or perhaps early Sunday). Taos on some models is also likely to do well eventually, perhaps late Saturday to Sunday (Wildcard pick).
Enjoy the powder everyone! Follow me on Instagram @powderchasersteve
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