Chase Powder Daily Snow
By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 2 months ago December 9, 2023
This storm cycle is producing epic amounts of snow for certain areas in the west.
I am out the door in 30 minutes on the chase. It's 5 AM.
My chase on Thursday night had me positioned in Pocatello Idaho with a 3 AM wake-up call. My gut told me that Targhee was going to get deep during the day on Friday (My last report mentioned this). From Pocatello, it's only 1.5 hours to the Tetons and 3 hours back to Utah.
Snow had not started, and there was already 4-6 inches in the Cottonwoods. The decision was to drive south and hit LCC. While LCC was deep, runs are still limited at Snowbird, with most terrain open at Alta. Targhee ended up being very deep by midday with country club skiing. Decisions never come easy when chasing powder.
Utah was crushed on Friday with 15- 28 inches in the Cottonwoods (Solitude, Alta, Bird) 8-11 inches for PCMR, and approximately 15 inches for the northern areas near Snowbasin and Beaver. NW flow kicked in over producing my general forecast of up to 18 inches. Strong winds kept the tram at Snowbird closed yesterday until noon when we had a country club run at the top (Soon the maze filled in). An additional 4-5 inches fell overnight for Saturday morning. Take your pick in Utah on Saturday! Most resorts are reporting good numbers on Saturday morning. The resorts will be busy and new terrain will be opening.
The Tetons were crushed on Friday with up to 18 inches noted at Targhee (Friday to Sunday). Saturday will be an epic day. JHMR is at 10 inches (NW flow favors Targhee over JHMR). JHMR and Teton Pass do best with Westerly flow, followed by SW flow (Targhee can also score with winds from the west). NW flow kicked in on Friday.
In looking at Colorado, Powderhorn, Crested Butte, and Aspen were the early winners on Friday (12-15 inches).
NW flow kicked in over Vail Pass Friday night with another 10 inches for Vail Mountain awaiting you on Saturday (15 total at Vail in 24 hours). The western Corridor including Vail and Beaver Creek seemed to fare best. Steamboat is reporting 11 inches.
The next storm is entering the PNW on Saturday with heavy precipitation initially in the form of snow Saturday late morning through Saturday evening (Significant totals favor Washington with much less in Oregon). This storm favors the central and southern Cascades of Washington under westerly flow. The Good: Tons of moisture The Bad: Very strong winds on Saturday (Some life closures), and rising snow levels above 5500 by Sunday. Stevens Pass might stay a bit cooler initially, however, everyone will be in the rain sector at some point after midnight on Saturday or earlier.
Aim to ride the PNW Saturday (Storm Ski) and low hopes for Sunday with warming. Oregon gets skunked.
Western Idaho will get the strongest moisture as it moves from the PNW (McCall) with dense snow from Saturday night to Sunday. The system stays north favoring the Tetons for Sunday/Monday (Rising temps). That system might bring a few scraps to northern Utah or Colorado. The Tetons might see another 4-7 inches from Sunday to Monday.
Below: Targhee got crushed Friday-Saturday, much of this falling after 11 AM through Saturday morning. The conditions will be fantastic.
Below: Total snowfall through Tuesday morning with the PNW scoring some big numbers in Washington with unfortunate warming. All snow on Saturday changing to rain below 5500 feet for Saturday night, with some cooling noted for Sunday. You might see 12-18 inches at some summits and 3-5 inches at the bases. Chase in the PNW Saturday PM. Conditions could be really good by the last chair. Idaho gets the strongest leftovers with decent totals noted in the Panhandle and western areas near McCall. Tetons grab a piece Sunday/Monday with a warming trend (Denser snow).
Out the door!