Friday will be dry and sunny. On Saturday, expect cooler temperatures with the best chance of snow over the northern mountains from Saturday afternoon through Sunday at sunrise. Forecast snow accumulations have increased a bit to 3-6 inches, so expect a low-end powder day on Sunday morning in the north. For Thanksgiving week, the first three days look dry, then chances for storms increase on Thanksgiving day and through the following week.
The Ikon Pass
Short Term Forecast
Like yesterday, we’ll keep the early-season excitement alive with this reader-submitted picture. Skiers and riders aren’t the only folks who love pow!
Similar to Thursday with plenty of sunshine and high temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s.
Snow from Saturday to Sunday AM
On Saturday morning, mountains and foothills east of the divide and north of I-70 should see clouds and light snow.
Then from Saturday midday through Sunday at sunrise, the northern mountains will have a good shot at 3-6 inches of snow. This forecast is a few inches higher than the previous forecast as most models now show the storm coming in slightly stronger. This trend could reverse, but for now, with model agreement, we’ll go with the higher totals.
The CAIC WRF model does a good job showing the general 3-6 inches in the northern mountains (near and north of I-70) with much lighter amounts in the central and southern mountains.
To double check the CAIC WRF model above, let’s look below at the American GFS model’s forecast for perception.
Over the northern mountains, the American GFS model predicts a rough average of 0.3 inches of liquid precipitation. Converting this to snow at Colorado’s average snow-to-liquid ratio of 15-to-1 (this is reasonable since temperatures will be cooling into the teens and 20s during the storm), we calculate 0.3 x 15 = 4.5 inches of snow. This is right in the middle of the CAIC WRF model's 3-6 inches. It's a good sign when multiple models agree.
This weekend’s system NOT a significant storm. But, if you like skiing powder, you should ski/ride as many days with fresh snow as possible because you’re guaranteed to enjoy more powder than if you don’t get out on the hill.
Based on the timing of the storm, it looks like the majority of the snow should fall late in the day on Saturday and Saturday night, so either last run on Saturday or first run on Sunday will be the best times to find fresh tracks, or at least soft tracks if mountains groom the new snow on Sunday morning.
No big changes to the forecast for Thanksgiving week and beyond.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday should be dry.
On Thanksgiving Day, we might see our first chance for snow, but this isn’t a guarantee, and models are oscillating from a significant storm to no storm at all.
In the days following Thanksgiving and through early December, all models push multiple storms into the western United States with many of these storms hitting Colorado. We’ll see.
Without much agreement between the models, I can’t offer any more details of which mountains or which days might bring the most snow. But it’s exciting to see the 7-15 day forecasts showing plenty of action, so now we wait as the models sort things out and then we’ll see if we can figure the timing of our next powder day.
Thanks for reading!
My next update will be on Saturday, November 17.
New backcountry lodge in the San Juans!
A friend of mine is helping to get the word out about the Red Mountain Alpine Lodge and asked me to share more with our OpenSnow community. The lodge is located near Red Mountain Pass, in southwestern Colorado roughly between Telluride and Silverton. This region offers a handful of backcountry lodging options, and Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is scheduled to open on December 21st.
* The lodge is 300 yards from Highway 550 = an easy approach!
* It's far enough from the highway to not hear the road.
* It's full service = you don’t haul food. Expect a hot breakfast, snacks, and a gourmet dinner.
* Choice of private rooms or dorm rooms
* Traditional bathrooms
* About 800ft below treeline, so there is often a skiing option even in high avalanche danger
* Offers wifi so you can continue to check the forecast:-)
* I haven’t been to the lodge yet (opens Dec 21), though I'm looking forward to checking it out!
* More details: http://www.redmountainalpinelodge.com/
* PS: My wife and I were engaged at the Opus Hut, also near Red Mountain Pass, so this area of the state is special to me and I'm thrilled to see more backcountry lodging options!
My upcoming presentations about the winter forecast and tips for chasing pow!
* November 28 in Vail at Walking Mountains Science Center. Free to attend. The talk starts at 630pm. Please RSVP here.
* December 5 in Denver at the Denver Athletic Club. More details soon.
We have an iPhone app that provides detailed weather forecasts for your hiking, biking, and climbing adventures. OpenSummit now includes forecasts for 1,000 of the highest and/or notable summits and hiking areas across the United States. Download OpenSummit (iPhone only)
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, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass
East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains
Did you know that you can get more from OpenSnow?
If you’re looking for a way to support OpenSnow and get access to more data, consider signing up for the All-Access Pass.
- 10-day forecasts
- Custom alerts to know about upcoming powder days
- Time-lapse webcams for tracking exactly when fresh snow has fallen
- Email delivery of the Colorado Daily Snow as soon as it’s published
All of this costs just $19 for one full year (365 days) and helps to support OpenSnow so that we can spend money and time to further improve our website and mobile apps.
I’d love to count you as an All-Access member!