Chase Powder Daily Snow

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By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 28, 2024

DOUBLE SNORKEL ALERT-3-7 Feet For the West

Summary

Significant snowfall is going to overspread the Sierra from Thursday PM to Sunday. The Cascades are getting dumped on currently with warmer temps that cool by Thursday. The Rockies grab respectable totals from Friday to Sunday. Canada is also scoring good numbers!

Short Term Forecast

Colorado got blasted on Tuesday with up to 20 inches that mainly fell in a short period from Monday night to Tuesday evening. In my previous forecast, I mentioned the possibility of 3-4 inch per hour snowfall rates with a potent cold front that slammed Colorado on Tuesday morning. Snowmass had 20 inches by late Tuesday and reports from locals were the "deepest day in many years"   My "upside surprise" on the last forecast certainly held for some mountain locations while Crested Butte came in lower than expected (9 inches). These potent cold fronts can land deep totals in a short period. 

There are many options for chasing powder this week with your deepest resort not always being your best friend. The big question is do you chase 7 feet of powder or several 12-inch days?   That is not an easy choice. I certainly don't know what I am doing yet. 

The Cascades are grabbing heavy snowfall on Wednesday morning with telemetry already showing 9-15 inches Tuesday night (Baker is the deepest). Temps are warming in the Cascades and winds are strong gusting in the 30' and 40's. Snow quality might be impacted by wind and the warming, but it will certainly be a deep day from Whistler to Stevens Pass. 2-3 feet is likely for the northern Cascades, 1-2 feet additional for the central regions (I-90 corridor), and 12-15 further South towards Crystal. 

Below: Dumping at Whistler Wednesday morning. 

Below: Significant totals will be found on Wednesday for Washington and western BC with heavy snow falling through Wednesday evening, decreasing in intensity after midnight with a cooling trend (quality improves for Thursday albeit lighter totals). Winds will be very strong on Wednesday. Oregon will do well later Wednesday to midday Thursday (12 plus). Aim to storm ski Wednesday and ride again Thursday morning. 

The headlines this week will be in the Sierra Range with heavy snowfall falling from late Thursday to early Sunday. This storm has peaked the models consistently all week (No sign of a decrease). I have very high confidence in 60-75 inches of snow for the majority of the Sierra Crest and 12-24 inches at lake level. Temps are reasonable (Lake level snow levels of near 5500-6K) that crash much lower on Saturday morning. Temps of -15C at 10K will bring blower snow densities to the Sierra from Saturday to Sunday. 

Below: Snow fills in heavy at times from Thursday night to Saturday night. Storm totals with the colder temps on Saturday/Sunday (Map is at 10:1) with better ratios could exceed 75 inches (Snow ratios will be higher than 10:1 increasing these totals). 

Below: Snow levels are at lake level Thursday (Medium to slightly dense initially). Cold air is noted on this map to move into the Sierra by later Friday to Saturday with very light-density powder by Saturday/Sunday. 

Below: Very windy conditions, unfortunately, are noted for the Sierra (Sustained in the 50's and 60's at 10K with gusts likely in the 90s) from Thursday night to Saturday morning. I think winds will decrease on Saturday however there is a risk of significant terrain closures due to heavy snowfall continuing and avalanche danger (Gamble on steep or upper terrain to open). If terrain pops on Saturday it will be epic. Perhaps stick with lower-risk terrain ski areas (Lower elevation) that have less wind impacts, or are more likely to pop ropes. Smaller resorts might be the best call. In previous years Diamond Peak, Homewood, Sugar Bowl, and Northstar have offered me open terrain while others were shut down. 

Leftovers are aimed at Idaho, Wyoming, and to some extent northern Utah from Thursday to Sunday.

Significant snowfall is noted for central Idaho (McCall to Haley) with a bit less as you head south to Sun Valley on Thursday and Friday. SV might end up with 8-12 inches from Thursday to Friday with Brundage or Tam in the 11-18 inch range. The Panhandle of Idaho does well on Thursday extending into northern Montana (Whitefish). 

Below: Total snowfall through Sunday. Peak snowfall for western Idaho Thursday/Friday, The Tetons Friday to Saturday, northern Utah Saturday/Sunday, and Colorado later this weekend. 

Bottom Line: Many deep options. The deepest resort in the Sierra by Saturday or Sunday will be epic when it opens. There are great options in the PNW for the short term. The Rockies do well Friday-Sunday with many areas in the 1-3 foot range. The big question is if you go for the 7-foot storm or settle for several days of 8-12. 

If you plan to chase to the Sierra expect long-duration road closures. Bring plenty of supplies and fill up with gas by Thursday. I-80 will likely be closed for an extended period with this storm. 

Extended Forecast

Below: 24-hour snowfall totals from Monday and Tuesday (March 4-5) night bring another round of powder to the PNW, Southern Canada, Sierra, and the northern Rockies. This might offer good chases early next week. 

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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