On Sunday morning there are 2-4+ inches of fresh snow to enjoy. Following dry weather on Monday, the storm on Monday night and Tuesday should deliver 5-10 inches to most mountains with fun powder on Tuesday. Further ahead, there could be another storm around December 2-3 and yet another storm around December 5-7.
Short Term Forecast
On Saturday we enjoyed sunny skies and warm temperatures, which is a perfect recipe for a family ski day! I was at Wolf Creek with my son and my father-in-law. Since Wolf Creek is 90% open following a solid snowfall early in November, we could cruise around most of the mountain.
We found the snow to be soft and chalky with nearly no ice, and this makes sense since almost all of the snow at Wolf Creek is natural with just a bit of machine-made snow near the base.
Following Saturday's dry and sunny weather, the storm rolled in as expected on Saturday night. Now on Sunday morning, most snow reports are in the 2-3 inch range, with Breckenridge, Copper, Keystone, and Winter Park all showing about 4 inches on their snow stakes.
We went into this storm thinking that 1-3 inches would be the right forecast with up to 5 inches in a few spots, and this is working out pretty well. Also, it's still snowing as I type this at 700 am, so we may add another 1-2 inches to the official Sunday morning snow totals, thus a few spots will likely get to 5 inches.
This new snow should ride nicely, especially on top of groomed runs and the softer north-facing snow. The snow should end by Sunday morning to midday for most mountains and clouds could hang around for most of the day.
Monday will be mostly dry for most mountains with a high in the 20s. The far northwestern mountains could see snowflakes late in the day as the next storm approaches.
Storm Monday Night & Tuesday
The forecasts for the storm on Monday night and Tuesday are converging and it appears that most mountains will have a powder day on Tuesday with about 5-10 inches of new snow.
The snow forecast below is from the high-resolution OpenSnow model and is a reasonable approximation of the average snow forecast across many models. In your mind, subtract 2-3 inches of snow from the forecast to account for the snow that fell on Saturday night which is included in the colors below.
The storm should track through Colorado in a way that will end up bringing pretty favorable snowfall conditions to most mountains at various times in the storm. The northern mountains will see a period of intense snow then have favorable winds from the northwest, the central mountains will see a period of intense snow then have favorable winds from the west, and the southern mountains will see a wind from the west and southwest which will deliver snow there as well.
The timing of the storm is shifting sooner by a bit, which I think is good news as it means that about half (or more) of the snow that falls will accumulate by Tuesday mid-morning with more snow throughout the day on Tuesday. Therefore, there will be powder for Tuesday's first chair / first lap with more snow during the day.
The multi-run forecast for Snowmass below shows this shift in the timing of the storm, with darker lines indicating more recent model forecasts. In the image below, to the left is earlier in time.
Some mountains that are farther west could get up to 12 inches by Tuesday afternoon, though I think a 5-10 inch forecast will cover it for most mountains.
Following Tuesday's powder, there will be dry weather on Wednesday and Thursday.
Then we'll have two chances for storms in early December.
The first chance for a storm will be around December 2-3. Most of this storm's energy will track to our northwest, but it's likely that we'll see some snow during this time.
The second chance for a storm will be early the following week, around December 5-7. A large area of storm energy should track from the west coast into the Rockies, though it's too soon to know if this will bring us a lot or a little (or no?) snow.
Thanks so much for reading and enjoy the snow!
Upcoming In-Person Presentations
Join me for in-person presentations this fall. These talks are fun (yes, powder science IS fun:-), and I'll discuss thoughts about the upcoming season and snow forecasting tips and tricks. Also, your attendance at many of these talks supports a local non-profit, so thank you for coming!
- Tue, Dec 6. Summit County
- Presentation in the evening
- More details soon!
- Fri, Dec 9. Basalt (Bristlecone Mountain Sports)
- 700pm Doors Open & Refreshments
- 730pm Presentation by Joel Gratz
- Register here
- Proceeds benefit Roaring Fork Conservancy
New Feature: Forecast Anywhere
You can now get a forecast for any location (on land) across the globe, and you can save any of these "Custom Locations" as a favorite.
Any "Custom Location" comes with estimated 24-hour snowfall. This means that you can set a "Custom Location" for your favorite backcountry spot and get estimated snowfall and estimated snowfall history. Since most backcountry areas do not have snow measurement equipment located at that exact spot, this feature will be a useful way to get a general estimate of how much snow has fallen.
And, "Custom Locations" are private and no other OpenSnow users will be able to see the "Custom Locations" that you create.
You can learn more about Forecast Anywhere in this short how-to article.
Steamboat, Bluebird Backcountry, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, 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