Monday brought snow to the far northern mountains. Now on Tuesday morning, snow is falling from I-70 into the central mountains, and this snow should continue into Tuesday midday until it (maybe) lightens up. From later Tuesday into Wednesday, the most snow could fall in the southern mountains, then on Wednesday night into Thursday, snow will fall on all mountains. There's a lot going on!
Short Term Forecast
On Monday, snow fell in the far northern mountains thanks to a stalled cold front. Steamboat saw about 6 inches during the day and mountains farther to the north saw about 10 inches.
On Monday night, the stalled cold front headed south, bringing another 4 inches of snow to Steamboat (with an additional 10 inches farther north), and intense snow also started to fall on the mountains near I-70 and south to the Aspen area.
Now on Tuesday morning at 600am, 24-hour snow totals range from 10 inches at Steamboat (where the snow is mostly over) to 5-9 inches along I-70 to 2-4 inches for the central mountains around Aspen.
For the far northern mountains including Steamboat, there will be powder in the morning with little additional snow during the day.
For mountains around I-70, including Eldora and Winter Park, and south to the Aspen area, there will be powder to start the day and the narrow band of snow could continue through mid-morning or midday adding at least 2-4 inches on top of the Tuesday morning reports.
By Tuesday late afternoon, the focus of the snow could shift to the southern mountains with less snow for the central mountains and I-70 area due to a change in the wind direction. However, some models show snow continuing for some northern and central mountains so I'm not quite sure how it'll play out.
The wind direction from the southwest will favor the southern mountains with more scattered snow showers for other mountains. Wednesday could wind up being a powder day in the southern mountains, which makes sense due to the winds from the southwest, though I don't have high confidence in this as many models are still wavering for reasons I don't quite understand.
Wednesday Night & Thursday
The final piece of the storm will cross Colorado on Wednesday night into Thursday morning and this should bring at least 3-7 inches to most mountains. Temperatures will cool and the snow quality by Thursday morning should be pretty good with lighter, fluffier snow on top of the fresh snow that fell this week.
Snowfall Tuesday - Thursday
Below is one model's snow forecast from Tuesday morning through Thursday afternoon. In general, I have low confidence in these numbers due to the narrow/localized band of snow on Tuesday and the models wavering about the southern snow on Wednesday.
From Thursday afternoon through Friday, we should see dry weather.
On Saturday, most models show dry weather though a few models show light snow as a weak storm crosses northern Colorado. We'll need to wait a day or two to see how this shakes out.
On Sunday, our weather should be dry for a lot of the day, then a storm will likely arrive later on Sunday and continue through Tuesday-ish. This storm could deliver significant snowfall with powder possible on Monday and/or Tuesday.
After the potential storm on December 12-13, we could see another storm later next week, around December 15th-ish.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Tuesday, December 6 is Colorado Gives Day! On this statewide day of giving, join us in supporting avalanche safety and education by donating to Friends of CAIC. We are proud to partner with Friends of CAIC to help keep our community safe. Donate today, and your gift will be doubled thanks to a $30k match. You will also be entered to win a Dynafit Free INFINIUM Jacket and Pants.
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!
- Wed, Dec 7. Silverthorne (The Pad, 491 Rainbow Dr)
- 600pm Doors Open
- 630pm Presentation by Joel Gratz
- Buy tickets here. The entire $10 ticket cost will be donated to the local non-profit FIRC.
- Fri, Dec 9. Basalt (Bristlecone Mountain Sports)
- 700pm Doors Open & Refreshments
- 730pm Presentation by Joel Gratz
- Register here
- Proceeds benefit Roaring Fork Conservancy
- UPDATE: Tickets sold out, but there is a waitlist.
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