Chase Powder Daily Snow

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By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 26, 2024

Cold Front Update- Heavy Snow Squalls, Wind, Chase Now to Be in Position.

Summary

Storm totals continue to build in the central Cascades of Washington spreading over Idaho and Wyoming at press time (Monday afternoon). Cold air aloft moves over Utah near midnight and into Colorado by 6 AM with some hefty snow totals.

Update

Quick update: Convergence zones have set up over the Central Cascades favoring the I-90 resorts from Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass (Additional 5-8 likely for Tuesday morning of high-quality cold snow). Wyoming has been on the snow train all afternoon with very strong winds and some lift closures as I forecasted. Tuesday would be a good day to ride some freshies at both JHMR and Targhee with the heaviest snow ending by 10 PM Monday (7-15 inch storm totals). 

The Utah models continue to downtrend just a tad with high confidence in the Uinta range (East of PCMR) and decent confidence for the Cottonwoods. Snow develops Monday evening under SW flow (Warmer) and ramps up significantly with the passage of the colder air around Midnight. There might be a brief period of 3-inch-per-hour snowfall rates with rapidly falling temps. 

Snow showers continue into Tuesday for the Wasatch range, primarily in the Cottonwoods. PCMR should grab snow totals of 6-10 inches, Cottonwoods (10-14) and less further north towards Ogden. The models show snow continuing on Tuesday in the Cottonwoods through 2 PM. Storm totals might overperform my forecast.

Overnight totals in the Wasatch Monday to Tuesday might stay in the 5-9 inch range. Winds will be very strong (Gusts 80) late Monday night near and along the frontal passage causing issues with wind-blown snow (Light density might essentially strip some sections and create deep pockets on leeward slopes. Wind decreases on Tuesday but remains moderate to strong. 

Below:  U of U ensembles based on 1 model (GFS) for Alta Ski Area. This model only shows about 12 inches through Tuesday PM. It is reasonable in my eyes, but my guess is it will be higher. There is up-and-down downside potential here. This shows 7 inches by 7 AM and an additional 3-5 during Tuesday.  

For Colorado, the focus for Monday night is still is on the southern San Juan range (Wolf Creek) extending into Telluride (Wildcard due to unfavorable winds), Crested Butte, and perhaps Aspen (Might do best early Tuesday with a wind shift). 

Warm air and denser snow are in the cards for the southern and central zones Monday night with 12-15 inches likely in the above-mentioned areas (Aspen will likely report less initially) by Tuesday morning. Very strong winds are noted on the models Monday night, especially in the San Juan range and extending into northern New Mexico. 

Below: 10K foot winds are sustained in the 40's and 50's in areas of Colorado Monday night. The highest winds on this model focus on the San Juan Range extending north to CB and Aspen and the Front Range resorts near the Divide. There appear to be far fewer wind impacts for Summit County, Eagle (Vail), and perhaps Aspen (Wildcard). I am not sure I can buy off on this but it's a hunch. Southern Colorado will have higher-density snow and wind impacts but will be the deepest (CB also).

Below: High-resolution models showing snowfall Monday night to early Tuesday focussing on the southern mountains of Colorado, northern New Mexico (Taos), and extending into CB and perhaps Aspen. By daybreak, heavy snow will transition north with the sharp cold front that will kick off heavy snow showers for the northern mountains including Steamboat, the I-70 corridor, and the Front Range resorts. Keep reading. This front will start in Steamboat and quickly transition to I-70 on Tuesday morning. 

Below: This same model shows snowfall as of late Tuesday night with double digits for Vail pass, Summit County, Divide, and even Eldora is highlighted near Boulder. Telluride is also going to grab decent totals with the colder air and NW flow. Aim to chase from Telluride, Aspen, and the I-70 corridor or north to Steamboat for Tuesday storm skiing. If winds grab a break (They might) many lifts will spin. I am not optimistic in high alpine areas opening due to visibility (Back Bowls, Imperial at Breck, Chair 6 at Loveland). 

The extended brings another deep storm to the PNW from Tuesday to Thursday. This storm will push further north into northern Idaho, and most of BC. The red flag I see is it starts cold Tuesday evening with a warm front due by Wednesday morning in the Cascades. This puts an upside-down layer in the snowpack (Might ride a bit heavy or funky on Wednesday morning). Cold air moves in Wednesday night for the PNW with some high-quality powder (Better quality Thursday). 

Below: Total snowfall through Thursday morning. The additional snow in the PNW is mainly from Tuesday PM to Thursday morning. In the Rockies, it is mainly the near-term event on Tuesday. 

A significant storm for the Sierra begins Thursday night. More on that later. 

I will see you on the first chair on Tuesday. 

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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