The storm will bring precipitation from Thursday night through Friday night, heaviest on Friday morning and midday with dense snow at high elevations over about 9,000 feet and rain below that level. The higher-elevation mountains will be your best bet on Friday, and there could be some colder, slightly fluffier snow waiting for you on Saturday morning. Following the dry weekend, a slow-moving storm could bring snow showers for the first half of next week with the best chances for deeper accumulations near and east of the divide and over the southern mountains.
Kids Ski Free in Sun Valley
Short Term Forecast
I will be on a backcountry hut trip and will not have internet access from Thursday morning through Sunday night, March 26th. After this post on Thursday morning, Sam Collentine will keep you updated until I return. Thanks for understanding and enjoy the storm!
I do not see any reason to make big changes to the forecast.
Precipitation will begin on Thursday night and will likely be most intense at times during Thursday night through the first half of Friday. Temperatures continue to look very warm, with a snow level around 9,000 feet. This level could drop during more intense precipitation and could rise during times of lighter precipitation.
Areas below about 9,000 feet will likely see raindrops. It’s a bummer, but a few hours of rain at lower elevation will not ruin the rest of our ski season, so don’t fret.
Areas above 9,000-10,000 feet have the best chance for 4-8 inches of snow. Most models show that the best chance for these accumulations will be at mountains that are at higher elevation, are further west and south, and are favored by winds from the southwest and west-southwest. For example, McClure Pass, west of Aspen, has a forecast range of 1-7 inches, with most of the versions of the American GFS model in dark blue (the more reliable model) showing 5-7 inches.
Most models also show areas further north and east, like Summit County, only getting a few inches. I have a tough time buying this due to the amount of moisture in the air and the strong flow from the west-southwest, which in the past has delivered respectable totals to these higher-elevation mountains. It's hard for me to bet against the moisture, even with the warmer air, but we'll see if the models have a better handle on this storm.
The take-home point is that Friday will be a warm and moist day with the best chance of dense powder at the highest elevations. Then on Friday afternoon and Friday evening, slightly cooler air arrives and we should see a few additional inches over the north-central and northern mountains before the snow shuts off around Friday night at midnight.
The weekend should be dry and warm with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s for most areas.
Then, next week, a slow-moving storm will cut-off from the main west-to-east flow of weather. It will track south of Colorado and might take most of the week to move from near Arizona to the east of Colorado.
This southern storm track favors the most snow along the mountains near and east of the divide, and also in the southern mountains. If the storm moves further south than the current forecast, we may not see much snow at all. If the storm wobbles a bit further north, most mountains could see reasonable snowfall next week.
Following that system, the end of next week and the first few days of April will likely be dry, then it looks like we might see a storm, or a series of storms, sometime between about April 5-15. That’s a long time from now, and I only mention this long-range outlook to give a sense that we have more powder days ahead of us.
Thanks for reading!
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
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