Looking for summer weather forecasts? Visit OpenSummit and download the OpenSummit app.

Colorado Daily Snow

Storm dropped 7-17 inches + we assess the state of the snowpack

Summary

October has been an incredible month for snow across the northern half of Colorado with 4+ feet of accumulation. Currently, our snowpack is well above average. Coming up, we’ll likely see mostly dry weather for the next 10+ days with a chance for a slightly more active pattern around the second week of November.

Sponsored

Warren Miller’s 70th Film

Change is constant, but winter stoke is eternal. Celebrate the season with Warren Miller’s 70th film, Timeless, presented by Volkswagen. Playing in Colorado Nov. 1 through Dec. 7. Find tickets.

Short Term Forecast

The two-part storm from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning dropped 7-17 inches across Colorado with the deepest totals at Monarch (17”) and Telluride (14”).

In the wake of those storms, temperatures were very cold on Wednesday. But the cold doesn’t stop us from skiing, and lots of folks were out at resorts and in the backcountry to enjoy these amazing early-season conditions (base depths are still relatively shallow, though, so take it easy!).

How good is our current situation?

Looking at a precipitation-versus-average map for October, the northern half of Colorado is nicely above average (the white numbers show the percent of average precipitation in each river basin).

Switching over to the metric of snow-water equivalent (the amount of water you’d measure after melting a column of snow), river basins across much of the central, northern, and northwestern United States show numbers that are well above average.

Zooming the above map into Colorado, all river basins are well above average except for extreme southwestern Colorado.

The caveat to these maps is that the average snow-water equivalent for this time in the early season is quite low, so the percent of average can look incredibly high after just one or two storms. I don’t want to ruin our good mood because our snowpack is well above average, just remember that it only takes a few early-season storms to generate these well above-average numbers and most of the season still ahead of us!

Extended Forecast

Every model shows that Colorado will be on the edge of the storm track through about the second week of November. The temperature forecast from NOAA perfectly illustrates the pattern, with cooler-than-average air to our east and warmer-than-average air to our west.

What this means for us is that most mountains should see dry weather through at least November 11th with just low chances for a few flakes in the far northeastern mountains on Friday, November 1st and Monday, November 4th.

It is possible that one of the upcoming systems could slide a bit farther to the west and bring more snow to Colorado, but the odds of that are low (though not zero).

For temperatures, we’ll be around average, plus or minus, so nighttime snowmaking will continue at most mountains and this will help a limited amount of additional terrain to open.

I’ll keep watching for the next chance of a significant storm, which could be about 10+ days from now.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Friday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Upcoming talks

These talks are usually 45 minutes and allow me to show a little of the science behind snow forecasting, have some fun, and answer lots of questions. I’ll post details about each talk as they are available.

* Frisco: Nov 8 @ Highside Brewery
* Nederland: Nov 12 @ Salto Coffee / Tin Shed Sports
* Denver: Nov 14 @ Denver Athletic Club
* Wheat Ridge: Nov 19 @ Downriver Equipment
* Evergreen: Nov 21 @ Boone Mountain Sports
* Breckenridge: Dec 6 @ Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge
* Basalt: Dec 12 @ Bristlecone Mountain Sports

Geography Key

Northern Mountains
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

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

Along the Divide
Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

Upgrade to All-Access and receive exclusive benefits.

  • Hourly Forecasts for 3 days
  • Daily Forecasts for 10 days
  • Favorite & Timelapse Cams
  • Custom Forecast Alerts
  • No Banner Advertisements
  • OpenSummit All-Access

See the whole picture for only $19/year and never miss another powder day.