Chase Powder Daily Snow

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Multiple Options To Chase Powder Next Week


A series of storms will move into the Sierra late this weekend, cooler than the previous A-R events and more manageable snow total wise. Those moderate systems will provide 2 periods of double digits that move over the Rockies from Monday to Thursday.

Short Term Forecast

If you read my forecast yesterday to "Chase now" to Alyeska they were blasted with 15-17 inches of snow from 6AM to 3PM (Epic Storm Skiing). Winds increased in the afternoon with some lifts closing by noon with the snow levels increasing throughout the day (Increased avalanche danger). Another 12-14 inches is likely from Saturday to Sunday bringing storm totals well in excess of 2 feet by Sunday night. Winds will be very strong for a few hours Saturday night that might impact snow quality (Not sure).  Did anyone chase there? 

The next 7 days brings good opportunity, cool conditions with decent odds of medium-dense snow for California (Not cement) with a system Sunday night to Monday dropping 9-13 inches of fresh pow. Snow levels will start at the Valley Floor (5500-6K ish) and drop by 5AM Monday to 4500.  Dependent on timing, snow will be dense initially followed by medium density by 2AM and the sweet spot by 4AM. It's likely that 75% of the precipitation falls under the Medium or medium dense range. Another double digit storm is likely in the Sierra from Tuesday to Wednesday and a bit cooler. 

Bottom Line Sierra: Good overnight totals and timing. Comes in warm and finishes cold (Right side up). Might be a bit dense for the powder snobs. 2 storms to watch. 

That system pushes light to moderate snowfall to the Cascades of Oregon and Washington (including interior areas) and eventually the Tetons and Wasatch ranges. Heaviest totals are likely to be found in the Wasatch with snow falling on Monday and ending Tuesday morning. Water totals in the Wasatch will end up near an inch in the Cottonwoods, and perhaps 3/4 inch further north towards Ogden (Snowbasin, Pow Mow) and 1/2 inch for Park City (9-15  of snow in the Cottonwoods, 6-10 Ogden area mountains, and 5-11 for PCMR). Winds are NW south of I-80 (Good for LCC or BCC) and might stay SW further north that could benefit the northern regions of Utah (Not clear what will happen). The GFS shows these numbers while the European model shows less. NWS has higher numbers, but at this point I am staying conservative.

Bottom Line Utah:  Pesky day storm Monday to the evening (Split totals with not huge numbers overnight). Model differences on strength as the Sierra storm might be splitting the heaviest moisture south. Double digits are possible by late Monday evening especially the Cottonwoods and a few surprise totals along or north of I-80. Southern Utah should do well with this storm. Ride Monday especially last chair or perhaps early Tuesday. 

In the Tetons I will describe next week as a freight train slowly climbing a mountain Monday hitting the summit and increasing its speed Wednesday evening. Steady light or occasional moderate bursts of snow will be the daily dose all of next week with a better push into Wednesday morning. Snow totals in the Tetons will be good but there might not be any single double digit event with snow increasing a bit Wednesday night. 

Below: Steady chug of snow for the Tetons from Monday to Friday (Slow and steady). These models are often overdone, so I am going with 10-18 inches for the week. Snow levels are decent (Medium density) with these waves and much colder by Wednesday night. Not much opportunity for big 12 hour totals but certainly decent conditions especially the BC that will ride well this week. 

In Colorado the synopsis is varied. Much of the moisture from the Sierra next week is aimed at the central and southern mountains. Temps are warmer than in other areas of the Rockies with 10K foot temps as high as -2, or -3C.  That's very warm for any decent quality initially. Colder air filters in by Wednesday night or Thursday.

The first storm from the Sierra (Sunday/Monday) moves over Utah Monday with the bulk of that system dropping south into the San Juan Range. The models highlight the far southern areas near Wolf Creek for a good dump Monday afternoon through Tuesday (12 plus inches). Temps are initially pretty warm but cold by Tuesday morning (Might be surfy). Light or Moderate snow is possible near Purgatory or even Crested Butte extending to a lesser extent to Aspen. Light snow is possible along the I-70 corridor also. 

The 2nd storm drops in midweek from Wednesday to Thursday and will have a bit more colder air and should deliver another decent dose of pow for the southern mountains. The central regions from CB to Aspen will likely see higher amounts than the initial storm Monday, but the focus still remains south. The GFS is pessimistic for big totals in the central mountains, however the European is more optimistic (Monarch, Aspen, CB). The European model shows a chance that the I-70 corridor could see 5-10 inches from Wednesday to Thursday. This is also the best chance for snow to be falling again near Taos. Totals in the southern San Juan Range next week will be abundant with avalanche danger increasing. 

Below: Cooler conditions in the northern Rockies while a competing warm to the south is keeping Colorado warmer until the cold air overtakes the region by Thursday morning. You can see a sharp cold front entering the PNW at the end of this loop (Thursday afternoon) in the upper left. Snow levels in much of the west should be between 5- 6K with these next storms aside from Colorado that will be warmer until late Wednesday night. 

Below: Chug in moisture for Wolf Creek could exceed 40 inches from Monday to Thursday. Warmer temps might trend these numbers lower but the models are pretty bullish. 

Extended Forecast

It is going to continue! We might get a break towards the end of March or early April. Much colder conditions will overspread the PNW and allow storms to move from the PNW to the Rockies in a more traditional La Niña pattern in the 7-14 day range. The PNW will see very cold temps by next weekend. 

Below: Another low pressure system is noted for the end of next week entering the PNW and will likely spread snow south and east into many regions of the west. 

Below: April 1st might see these areas dry out, but it's unclear or uncertain. Currently the models look to take a breather.  

You can follow my chases and travel photography on Instagram @powderchasersteve 

See you on the First Chair next week. 

Powderchaser Steve