Chase Powder Daily Snow

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By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 3 months ago December 4, 2023

Storm Recap-50 Inches In 3 Days- The West Is Coming Back. More Storms Late

Summary

The previous 3 days were filled with action with significant snow totals for the PNW and North Central Rockies. These storms came in cold and ended warm. Rain is falling in the PNW, but there are 2 storms to talk about late this week.

Short Term Forecast

Here are some impressive snow totals from the storm that is exiting the west on Monday

PNW Totals as of Sunday Morning (OpenSnow- PNW Forecast)

  • Stevens Pass: 37"
  • Snoqualmie (Alpental): 24 - 28"
  • Baker: 29"
  • Crystal: 16"
  • White Pass: 33"
  • Mt. Spokane" 6"
  • 49 Degrees North: 1

Most areas performed as I had forecasted. Baker benefited initially with winds from the SW Friday with most of the action pushing south as winds veered W, NW. Unfortunately, temps have risen significantly with rain falling Sunday PM in all areas. 

Below: Precipitation for the PNW through Tuesday in the form of rain (3-5 inches). Flood warnings are out for much of the PNW. Snow will return late this week. 

Where did I chase? I avoided the crowds and the strong winds. 

In the Rockies, substantial snow totals had me chasing strategically to areas that had fewer crowds and in some cases not the deepest snow. I have always said, "Sometimes the deepest snow is not your best choice". I chased to Beaver Mountain in northern Utah to skin on Saturday (12 inches high quality with uphill permitted). Coverage was decent, enough for top to bottom with some weeds still between the ankles on the steeper aspects. Additional snow fell after my chase with storm totals at 35 inches at Beaver. 

The Cottonwoods had 11-17   Saturday with limited terrain openings aside from Alta which had a decent amount open. Snowbird opened the tram around 10:30 on Saturday (Reg Only). A major factor in my decision to avoid the 17 inches in the Cottonwoods was that winds were gusting in the 60s to 80s Friday night (often a red flag for chasing to the highest resorts). The resorts closest to SLC were very busy. Beaver scored decent totals Friday and Friday night (Uphill only). These are never easy decisions! I often turn around multiple times. 

From Beaver Mountain on Saturday, it was only 3 hours of driving to Jackson (In a white-out). Headed to Grand Targhee Sunday for storm totals in the 10-16 inch range (Only 4-5 overnight into Sunday to catch the opening of the Blackfoot Chair. Coverage at Targhee was decent, but another 1-2 storms would help. Conditions were bottomless with a bit of funk wind layer (A bit surfy or grabby). There were only about 50-100 folks on the line Sunday (Country Club skiing).

Had Colorado had more terrain open, I would have chased there Sunday night (3 States storm). Colorado did score and more terrain is opening each day. 

Below: Targhee storm totals as of my Sunday arrival with a bit of pink sky and perfect visibility. Photo: @powderchasersteve 

The storm in Utah transitioned from light-density snow Friday/early Saturday to denser Sunday. Rain was falling below 7,000 feet Sunday night to Monday. Winds were very strong with gusts in the 80's Friday and Saturday night. Winds in Colorado were also very strong, especially on Sunday. Snowbird remained closed on Sunday (Patrol initiated slides and decisions based on skier safety). 

Storm totals in the past 3 days are significant in Utah

Alta: 50 inches

Snowbasin: 41 inches

Solitude: 35 inches 

Beaver: 35 inches

Powder Mountain 30 inches (Estimated no official report)

Park City: 29 inches (upper peaks, Canyons side)

Sundance 23 inches (48 hours)- Perhaps higher amounts in 3 days. 

Below: Photo: @powderchasersteve Monday morning at the Alta Ski Area. 

Snow totals in Colorado are also significant.

Below: Breckenridge snow cam as of Monday morning

Totals from our OpenSnow Colorado Forecast Monday morning. 

30: Irwin Lodge26” (2+6+1+17) 

26" Winter Park
24” (2+7+7+8) Steamboat via Snow Stake cam (officially 33” = 3+7+10+13)
23” (3+6+4+10) Copper
22” (5+5+3+9) Vail

21” (4+4+3+10) Breckenridge
20” (0+2+5+13) Eldora

22" Telluride-

23” (4+7+10+2) Monarch
20” (1+5+9+5) Crested Butte
11” (4+4+2+1) Aspen Highlands

These numbers are all good news for the Ski Industry in many areas of the west. Not so much for the Sierra or some spots in Montana. 

The extended offers some additional snowfall for the west. 

Extended Forecast

The week ahead looks to transition to a cooler period for the Pacific Northwest and a moderate storm due on Thursday. That system drags over the Rockies bringing a return to unsettled conditions and a cold front to the Intermountain West late this week. Even the Sierra might get teased. While this system is not rich with moisture like the last, colder temps could still eke out some chasable totals later this week (Good snow ratios).

Below: New snowfall for the PNW late this week ending Thursday night. An additional and stronger system is possible by next weekend for the PNW and Canada. 

  Below: 2-day storm totals late this week for the west ending late Friday as the PNW storm drags moderate snow through Idaho, northern Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado (Thursday/Friday). With colder temps, these totals will likely trend higher.

Below: Much colder temps noted at 10K feet for the Rockies and PNW late this week. The moderate system in the Rockies with limited moisture could overperform with good snow ratios and quality. (Map is Friday PM). 

A 2nd and stronger system for the PNW next weekend will likely take a northerly route with some significant snow possible for Canada in week #2,  Stay tuned for some upcoming chases. 

Powderchaser Steve- video of my double life chasing storms for 45 years. https://opensnow.com/news/post/never-enough-the-double-life-of-a-powderchaser

Enjoy the powder everyone

Powderchaser Steve 

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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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