Thanks to this week’s sponsor!
This week’s Colorado Daily Snow is kindly supported by the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 in Breckenridge. Enter now for your chance to win a trip to Breckenridge including ski in/ski out lodging, cash for lift tickets, fun, and transportation! Enter here: http://opsw.co/1URCwrB
This update comes to you on Thursday night. Yes, I usually post in the morning, but today is my last full day in Japan (I’m on my honeymoon with Lauren) and our schedule is getting a bit tight as we enjoy our last few hours and then head off to the airport. So I’ll be updating tonight and then once more early Saturday morning before hopping on a flight back to Denver. I will then resume regular morning posts on Sunday.
Before diving into the forecast, let’s take a look at our current snowpack.
Despite the dry weather during the last week, most of the western US is still above average. The colors and numbers show the percent of average snowpack and the oddly-shaped areas break up the states into river basins.
Taking a closer look at Colorado, all areas are near or above average in terms of snowpack, with the southern and central mountains leading the way.
The next chart illustrates how Colorado’s snowpack has grown throughout the season. For the most part we have been near or above average (thick blue line), and right now we are about 10% above average. I do think that the blue line (this year’s snowpack) will just about flatline for the next two weeks, so we may intersect or drop a bit below average by the end of February. That said, I am optimistic that we’ll start an upward trend once we get into March.
The infrared satellite image on Thursday night shows some cloudiness infiltrating the western ridge, so we should see some clouds on Friday just like we did on Thursday.
Temperatures on Friday should continue to be warm with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s around 10,000 feet (the mid-mountain elevation for most mountains). There is a small chance that the northern divide mountains see a quick snow shower late Thursday night through Friday morning, though I think any accumulations will be a dusting or less.
Saturday should be another dry day, though we should cool off by a few degrees.
Then a series of storms will clip the northern mountains from Saturday night through Tuesday morning. Most of the northern mountains will likely see 2-4 inches during this time, though it’s possible that some areas could measure 6+ inches if things come together just right. The steadiest snow should fall on Sunday into Monday, so I think Monday will offer the softest turns. Keep in mind that south-facing slopes will have a melt/freeze crust, so it’ll be best to stick to groomed runs or north-facing terrain. When the steadier snow moves through on Sunday into Monday, we could see flakes drop south into the central mountains, but amounts should be light.
Following this series of storms, next Tuesday and Wednesday should be dry.
The next storm should bring snow to all mountains next Thursday and Friday. This will be a quick-moving system and it will not have a lot of moisture, so I think most mountains will measure only 3-6 fresh inches of snow. Any snow is good snow, but this storm will likely not lead to a big powder day.
Beyond this system, I think we’ll experience another few days of dry and warm weather. I am rather confident that we will see a pattern change either late in February or more likely early in March. The newest 30-day forecast from the European model agrees with its previous forecasts and shows more active weather for Colorado, starting in early March. The CFSv2 forecast (not the most reliable) also shows that precipitation will crank up at the beginning of March. Let’s hope these forecasts verify!
PS - Join me in Denver next Wednesday, February 17th. I’ll be giving a talk at the Arc’teryx Store (Cherry Creek area) and will cover the forecast for the rest of the winter, how to predict powder in each mountain range around Colorado, and the best websites and apps to help you track the weather. I might event throw in a few slides about how to find snow in Japan as I will just have returned from the trip:-) AND … for a small donation you’ll be able to drink beer from Avery Brewing! All of the donations will go to a charity founded in Colorado called SOS Outreach. PLUS … Arc’teryx will be giving away a free jacket. A pretty good way to spend a Wednesday night, eh? RSVP and see more details here: http://opsw.co/20qrD1E
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass
Along the Divide
Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass
East of the Divide
Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek (Telluride and Silverton are on the northern side of the southern mountains)