Chase Powder Daily Snow

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By Powderchaser Steve, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago March 2, 2024

Gamble on 10 Feet or Take The Safer Bet and Chase 10-20 inches?

Summary

Dangerous conditions are slamming the Sierra Range with many resorts closed on Friday. The cold front approaches Friday night increasing snowfall intensity even higher. Another storm is possible Monday PM to Tuesday. The Rockies are getting crushed favoring Wyoming, Idaho, and soon to be Utah. Colorado will do well Saturday night to Sunday. So many options! The Deepest might not be the right call

Short Term Forecast

20 inches were reported in many areas of the Sierra on Friday morning. 165 MPH gusts are currently slamming the Sierra above 8500 feet (Alpine Meadows at 8600 had 167 and Palisades is gusting at 147).  Many roads remain close with white out conditions. Several resorts were also closed today and will likely remain closed on Saturday. Driving conditions are hazardous. An additional 4-6 feet will likely fall from late Friday to early Sunday. Winds will start to ease slightly on Sunday. My suggestion is to avoid the Sierra! I am not chasing there but might consider it on Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday as things settle down, however another 6-12 inches is possible Tuesday. 

Open resorts in the Sierra on Friday were Diamond Peak, Bottom of Northstar and Granlibakken in Tahoe City.  

For the PNW, Crystal snuck up another 12 inches Friday morning with cold temps where just a few cells of moisture coming off the ocean can deliver decent amounts of snowfall. The models show additional snowfall for the PNW (6-11) favoring Oregon, specifically the central and southern Resorts (Mt Ashland could do well). Further north will see less (3-7)

Below: Additional snowfall Friday night is noted for Oregon and southern Washington. Communities near the coast could see some significant snowfall with very cold temps. This heavy band of snow Friday night extends into coastal areas of Northern California. 

The main moisture feed and cold front is aimed at western Idaho and pushing into the Tetons. 

I chased to Jackson on Friday with 8 inches of new snow at opening and roughly 15-16 at closing. It was snowing 2-3 inches per hour at the summit later in the afternoon. Conditions were variable with deep pockets of snow mid to upper elevations and only 1-3 inches at the base. Winds were strong at the summit creating good rip it powder buff. The last tram at JHMR was my best run of the day at 3:45. 

Below: Additional snowfall for the Rockies favoring the Tetons extending into northern Utah Friday night to Saturday morning. Northern Utah will grab snowfall Saturday morning. Some deep spots might include the Tetons (11-15 additional Friday PM-Saturday and southern Idaho resorts closest to Utah. In Utah ski Beaver (could be deep by 10AM) early Saturday and head south for late day to Ogden or the I-80 corridor that peaks by 11AM Saturday. The Cottonwoods will not see significant snow until Noon with the passage of a cold front. Honorable Mention: Big Sky had 9 inches Friday morning (Finally a bit to talk about). The models Friday night appear to bullseye to their south again. 

PCMR is in the 9-15 inch range with the Cottonwoods in the 12-18 inch range by Sunday morning. Additional snow showers will be falling Sunday/Monday (Storm totals might exceed 18-25). Both Sunday and Monday will be good chase days for Utah from I-80 and south. Chase north Saturday/Sunday. 

THE BAD NEWS 

Below: Wind speeds are sustained in the 50's and 60's at 10K feet (Gusts to 120 are possible) for the Wasatch range Saturday peaking with the cold front late AM or early PM. Strong winds extend into the Tetons on Saturday albeit less than Utah. 

Below: Colorado scores Saturday night to Sunday. Models are a bit uncertain on exactly where. The short term NAM 12 seems to depict a good average of the heaviest snow falling on the western corridor near Aspen or Crested Butte (12-17) Steamboat is very deep on some models (I would lean in favor of this). Some decent snowfall from Beaver Creek to Vail Pass is also noted albeit lower totals. The Front range is lit up on this map (Far upper right). That cold land some good totals for Eldora, RMNP, and Winter Park. Some snowfall for Colorado will linger into Monday.  Ride Sunday/Monday.l 


Below: Cold front in the Rockies due for the Tetons by noon Friday. Southern Idaho and northern Utah grab heavy snowfall and this cold front mid morning Saturday while the Cottonwoods and Provo Canyon cool by noon-2PM Saturday. 

I might be able to score a 4 State chase that started in Washington extending to Wyoming on Friday/Saturday, Utah Sunday and Colorado on Monday. If I hit the Sierra on Tuesday it would make it 5 States. This would be my record. 

Extended Forecast

Looking at 24 hour snowfall total in a loop depicts the Sierra storm early next week (6-12 inches)  filtering into the Rockies. The loop runs from Tuesday March 5 to Thursday March 7. You can see 24 hour previous snowfall totals favoring the Sierra, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Wildcard: Models show some decent snowfall for BC (Whistler) and perhaps the PNW towards the end of next week (Not shown here). 

Below: Total snowfall for the west through Sunday March 3rd. Totals will exceed these numbers with the colder air and higher snow ratios (Map Is only at 10:1). Add 50% to these numbers. 

Enjoy the powder everyone!  Good luck if you are stuck in CA. When things open Sunday or Monday you might score an incredible deep run as long as the wind did not destroy it. 

See you on the first chair Saturday and Sunday.

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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