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The Snow Apocalypse Continues! Powder Alert- West is setting records


What a week! There is so much to talk about! Feet and Feet of snow just landed in the Rockies, Oregon, and even California (Ditto). The next 7 days will continue with unseasonably cold conditions and more storms favoring Oregon, Sierra, and the Rockies especially midweek.

Short Term Forecast

Chasing powder in the last few days has even been a struggle with either too much snow closing down resorts, road closures, or non-openings. On Friday I headed for Powder Mountain (8-10 inches at 5 AM) based on the most overnight snow. The Cottonwoods was a 2nd choice due to heavy snow on the models during the day (AM versus PM snow). Well, I turned around from the access road to Powder making a last-minute decision to chase back to the Cottonwoods with snow falling heavily in LCC by 6 AM. LCC was closed for avalanche control (4 inches overnight Thursday). By the time I got to Snowbasin, changed my mind again and drove back to Powder. Why?  I would be behind the lineup of cars from the closure, snow intensity picked up again at Powder. Our own OpenSnow Europe Forecaster Luke texted me "Dumping again at Powmow" Chasing powder is frustrating. How many of you spin your brain looking at the radar, snow telemetry, Webcams, Highway reports, etc? You wouldn't be reading the Chase forecast if not. My chase started at 4:30 Am originally headed to LCC, Then Powmow, Then LCC, then the final decision to hit Powder.  Powder Mountain rode well Friday morning with 10-12 inches by 9 AM and another 2-5 fell during the day. LCC snow intensity picked up drastically Friday morning with periods of 4-5 inches per hour, and a whomping 15 inches by noon! Reports were pure blower, 0 visibility, and some terrain closures due to rapidly increasing avalanche danger. At a rare midday moment in LCC, with the text "Everyone take shelter, with inter lodge (Illegal to be outside) in effect immediately"  A natural slide (White Pine) had slid with rumors of the snow cloud getting as low as Snowbird Resort (Non verified but nevertheless a scary situation). Storm totals over the past 2-3 days exceeded 50 inches in the Cottonwoods. 

Alta Ski just surpassed 749 inches making it the snowiest season on record since recording in 1980. Ironically the 2nd snowiest season was in 1981 with 748 inches. Alta has seen over 165 inches in March alone and it's not over! 

Other incredible snow reports in the past 24 hours are Red Lodge Mountain which reported 37 inches in 24 hours. The Ski Area kept most terrain closed on Saturday. I mentioned Red Lodge as a chase target in my last forecast.  Hopefully, the terrain opens on Sunday. 

The Tetons fired big time with NW winds favoring the western side of Teton Pass and the Ghee reporting 24 inches Saturday morning (12 from Friday) and snow telemetry showing upwards of 32 inches

Below: Targhee just scored their deepest day of the season Saturday! JHMR came in with 5-9. 

Other notable winners were areas of Oregon with Timberline coming in with 21 inches (Had that on my last forecast) with a bit less snow than anticipated for the Washington resorts (7 at Baker and Stevens with convergence zones setting up north). 

All of Utah scored well on this last storm, with respectable totals in the central mountains of Colorado (10 at Snowmass). The winds were gusting in the 60s most of Friday night at 10K feet in the Cottonwoods, and quality was likely a bit funky at the peaks, especially at Snowbird (*Reports confirmed this). 

Below: I did 4 Baldy Hikes on Wednesday while It was dumping at Snowbird- @powderchasersteve - Instagram. 

In the next 24 hours, when looking to chase powder, consider Montana with several more inches noted for Red Lodge and moderate snowfall for both Bridger and  Big Sky. 

Below: Short term models showing snow showers, perhaps heavy at times noted for southern Montana through Sunday morning. Lighter amounts will fall over the Tetons with heavier totals in the Big Horns. The Wasatch will also grab light snow showers through Sunday under a cold unstable and convective NW flow. 

Extended Forecast

The apocalypse continues next week.  There is a decent low-pressure system that will enter the Oregon coast by Monday night and overspread the Sierra on Tuesday. This storm has very cold air and may also bring some snow to the higher elevations of the coastal ranges. This system will take a broad track over Idaho and the Rockies. It may even dip as far south as Arizona by Wednesday or Thursday. There will be an opportunity to score blower pow mid to late next week.  

Below: Cold front entering the west with -12C (10F) at 10K feet by early Tuesday (Spring is canceled and winter is remaining). 

Below: Cold and deep storm possible for the Sierra Tuesday/Wednesday. We shall see if the models hold up being 4-5 days away.  

Below: Impressive cold front digs south and east by Thursday plunging temps way below seasonal norms for all of California and as far south as Mexico. 

Below: Storm entering the coast of Oregon and California by Tuesday, March 28th. 

Below: Low pressure and very cold air take a southern route pushing moisture in a broad area to the north. Many ski areas will benefit from this storm, however, amounts might be deeper in the central or Southern Rockies. The map is early Thursday morning March 30th. 

Below: 7-day outlook at Snowfall with higher amounts likely due to better snow ratios and colder temps. Confidence is low this far out on totals, but pretty high on a stormy pattern mid-next week. The map is a total of the 7-day snowfall until April 1st.  

A stormy pattern might continue into the first week of April favoring the northern regions including the PNW but it's really too far out to have confidence. 

Follow my chase on Instagram @powderchasersteve for the latest deep pow and travel. 

Powderchaser Steve