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By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 3 months ago December 2, 2023

EPIC ALERT- Updated Snow Totals - The Game Has Started

Summary

Several waves have already put down some decent numbers as of 4 PM Friday. The heaviest snow is likely from Saturday to Sunday night in many areas. Chase powder through Monday.

Update

Here are a few snow totals as of 4 PM Friday from telemetry 

Mt Baker- 11 inches

Stevens Pass- 6 inches

Alta 8 inches

Grand Targhee- 8 inches on telemetry, 5-6 at the base cam. 

Aspen: 6 inches (Separate storm from the south). 

Below: New webcam for Beaver Mountain near Logan Utah!  (I love the Beaver at the top). 

Below: Taos got a surprise dump on Friday with that pesky moisture moving in under SW flow. 

This is just the beginning! 

The west is going to get slammed, especially the PNW with 1-3 feet of snow. I've taken a very detailed look at many models this afternoon and will give you my official take on who and where will see the best freshies. 

PNW

In the PNW very strong winds and W, SW flow will dominate the period from Friday night to Sunday. Significant snowfall is going to ramp up especially after midnight Friday. Winds sustained in the 30s at the ridge tops with higher gusts will accompany this front. Heavy snowfall will blanket the entire Cascade ranges of Washington and Oregon by Saturday morning. SW winds Friday night will favor areas towards Mt Baker with the biggest totals by AM. Most areas grab 12-15 with higher amounts north towards Baker. 

There are no losers with this Friday night-early Saturday wave aside from moderate snow totals inland towards Spokane (6 inches) and 8-10 near Schweitzer. 

Winds shift to W, and NW on Saturday and continue to pump out ample moisture in the Cascade Ranges through Sunday. Some areas will see 3 feet by Sunday morning (Central and Northern Cascades) with perhaps 20 inches near Crystal (Friday to Sunday). If a convergence zone forms on Saturday it will push even higher totals near Stevens Pass or the I-90 corridor. 

The tricky part of this forecast is several brief warm fronts, followed by cooling and then steady warming and rain by Sunday night. If the passes near Stevens or Snoqualmie keep enough cold air pushing in from the east significant new snowfall accumulations will occur here also on Sunday. Baker might also stay a bit cooler. 

Below: Snow levels rise Sunday morning, especially in the southern Cascades (Snow changes to rain below 5000 feet). Brief cooling may return snowfall (See the cold front briefly pushing in from the north below), especially to the northern Cascades near Baker late Sunday. Easterly flow will keep Stevens Pass cooler and might continue to snow through most of Sunday midday. The eastern Cascades including Mission Ridge and areas to the Idaho border will stay cooler on Sunday. Eventually, rain will be falling over the PNW from late Sunday night to Monday. 

Below: Sunday morning temps are critical for additional snowfall in the Cascades. You can see the colder air trapped on the western passes on Sunday morning pushing in from the east. This might keep snow falling at both Stevens and areas on the I-90 corridor into early Sunday afternoon when warming takes pushes the cooler air out. Areas in the southern Cascades and Oregon will be a wet mess Sunday especially Oregon and southern Washington. 

Below: Total snowfall through Sunday morning for the Cascades. Strong winds and a warming trend will increase avalanche danger significantly especially late Saturday to Sunday. Whistler to the Bachelor score deep snow (Wide range). Less snow is noted for interior BC. Moderate snow over Schweitzer. 

The Rockies all score significant totals this weekend. There is a decent wave noted for Idaho/Wyoming and Utah Friday night followed by a brief break on Saturday. Deeper totals will likely occur anywhere from Beaver Mountain near Logan, Northern Wasatch (Snowbasin or Powder), and the Cottonwoods. I would expect an additional 5-10 inches for these areas by Saturday morning. Higher amounts are possible with the models not able to distinguish isolated convection and some totals might exceed 10 inches. A brief break on Saturday. 

In Colorado, this wave moves from Utah to the western corridor later Friday night and Saturday morning. I think this is going to favor the western corridor from Aspen to Steamboat (5-9 inches) with lighter amounts on the core of the I-70 corridor. Aspen might be a decent place to chase or Steamboat on Saturday morning with this first wave. 

The warmer air noted in the PNW moves over the Rockies, especially Saturday night and Sunday. This front combined with a very saturated atmosphere will bring an even stronger wave of heavy snowfall for the Tetons, Wasatch Range, and Colorado. The main focus in Wyoming is mid-morning Saturday to Sunday morning., moving into Utah and Colorado from Saturday PM to Sunday PM. The quality will be denser on the Saturday/Sunday event (Upside Down). 

Storm totals will continue to rise into the expected ranges of 15-28 inches for many areas (Tetons-Wasatch) when this storm finally moves east on Monday. Colorado will likely land in the 15-18 inch range by Monday morning. 

Of note, is that the models are pushing higher snow totals than previously expected over a wide area of the Colorado Central and northern mountains. I feel really good about 15 plus inches for most mountains from Steamboat, Aspen, Irwin Lodge (CB looks deep also- but a bit of an outlier), and all of Summit and Grand Counties. This will be a storm that the core of I-70 has been waiting for. Highest precipitation rates will be late Saturday night through Sunday evening. Berthoud Pass, Winter Park, and even Eldora will be scoring snowfall. Temps will be warming so quality will be a bit denser than on Saturday. Ride Sunday and Monday for the deepest totals in Colorado. 

Below: Additional snowfall at 10:1 will be high for a wide area of Colorado through Sunday night. These totals will creep higher due to colder temps and better snow-to-liquid ratios Saturday night, however ratios lower on Sunday with heavy snowfall continuing. 

Snow showers will continue in the Tetons Sunday night and in areas of Utah and Colorado bringing yet another chance to score powder Monday as areas open up additional terrain. 

Thanks to all of you who came out last night in Colorado to hear Joel Gratz talk at the Denver Athletic Club. I am glad I was able to join him. 

If you get some photos of the deep snow please message me on Instagram @powderchasersteve

Here is a copy of the OpenSnow video on addiction to powder https://opensnow.com/news/post/never-enough-the-double-life-of-a-powderchaser

About Our Forecaster

Powderchaser Steve

Forecaster

Powderchaser Steve has over 45 years of experience chasing storms based on his weather and local knowledge of resorts on both the East and West Coasts. His snow intel will likely land him at the deepest resort and almost never missing "First Chair" in the process. Follow "The Chase" on OpenSnow to find out where the deepest snow may be falling.

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