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By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 2 months ago December 7, 2023

Decent Totals With A Cool Down (PNW, Sierra, Rockies). Where To Chase?

Summary

Snow is falling over the northern Sierra ranges early Thursday morning. The PNW is finally turning colder with double digits for many ski ares. The Rockies score doubles also including Idaho.

Update

This will be a short post as I travel back to Utah from Colorado this morning. Telemetry at Palisades is showing 8 inches at 8,000 feet, and it's possible that higher amounts are hitting the peaks. This storm will be weaning by midday Thursday. I don't have any other snow totals currently, but it's good to talk about Tahoe again. Areas on the north side of the lake most likely scored the highest totals. 

Below: Telemetry at Palisades (8K) showing 8 inches and it is likely still snowing. 

If you're chasing in the PNW very cold temps are plunging snow levels to 2,000 feet on Thursday. Significant snowfall is likely for the Cascades through Saturday with the strongest periods on Thursday and again  Saturday to Sunday.  Cold air convergence zones are possible over Stevens Pass Thursday/Friday with some resorts likely reporting 8-13 inches by late Thursday night. Ride Friday (Temporary break) or Saturday  (Storm ski with event #2). 

It's tough to predict what the surface will feel like in the PNW after a pure rain to deep freeze event in the past few days.  This storm comes in cold and finishes warm on Saturday (Not Ideal). Warmer temps rise the snow levels Saturday late PM above 4500 feet. Bottom Line: Deep pow for Thursday-Saturday with colder temps.  Ride Friday or early Saturday. Oregon will see the warmer temps  on Saturday. Rain is possible at the bases at some point late Saturday evening as the snow level rises to 4000-4200 feet. Totals could exceed an additional 15 inches (Saturday) in many areas favoring the central Cascades of WA followed by areas to the south into Oregon. The warm up will occur later Saturday with some cooler air noted for Sunday morning (The good news is that the bump up in temps might only be for a brief period Saturday evening). Sunday might also deliver some good deep creamy pow. 

Idaho chases will be primo for the central panhandle (MT border) near Ski Lookout (could be deep) or towards McCall. The highest snow totals will likely land south of McCall (Tamarack) and extend to Stanley Thursday to Friday. Sun Valley gets leftovers. 

I would consider a chase to Wyoming on Thursday with storm skiing (4-7) for the Tetons (Warm and windy), followed by a second system due for Friday morning (Colder and lighter density). It's more of a day event on Thursday versus overnight. 3-4 inches are on telemetry at Targhee as of 6AM Thursday with snow continuing in the Tetons through mid morning. The 2nd wave hits Thursday night (Peaking 2AM to 10AM Friday) with another 4-9 inches. Bottom Line: Decent totals in the Tetons favoring northern areas into southern Yellowstone. Ski Areas grab 2 days of 4-8 inches. Friday might offer the best day with drier density and less wind. I think Targhee will be deeper than JHMR? Northern Tetons near the Yellowstone entrance will grab higher totals. 

For Utah the 2 part storm will arrive Thursday (Light to moderate amounts) favoring the northern Wasatch Range. Friday morning will offer better odds of 4-8 inches for first chair/tram and another 5-10 inches possible from AM Friday to late PM. NW flow will keep the Cottonwoods going with snow showers into Saturday morning. Totals? My gut tells me 6-12 for the northern Wasatch Mountains (Beaver, Snowbasin, Pow Mow) and 5-9 inches for the Wasatch Back (PCMR-Canyons side deeper). Last Chair Friday might be your best run. 

In Colorado, nothing stands out as deep currently for Friday/Saturday but that could change. Generally I'm seeing 4-8 inches favoring the northern and central ranges. NW flow could offer a surprise for Saturday morning. 

Below: Snowfall through Friday night favoring the the PNW, Idaho and the northern Rockies including Whitefish in Montana (less snow for the central or southern MT Range). Chase from Idaho to the Tetons or Wasatch for Thursday/Friday. Sierra on Thursday morning? PNW deepest Thursday to Friday and again Saturday (Warmer and heavier precipitation). Map is from late Thursday to midnight Friday. Additional snow is possible for the Cottonwoods in Utah and  Colorado into Saturday.. 

Flight time! I will provide an update later Thursday if I see any significant changes. Still low tide in most areas so be careful out there. There might not be any perfect solution if you are looking for that 10-12 inch overnight dump. Sum totals will be healthy by late Friday in the Rockies and the PNW by later Saturday (2 events). 

Powderchaser Steve 

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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