Tuesday night's storm delivered up to 10-12 inches of snow in the central and southern mountains while the northern mountains only received 3-6 inches. In the wake of the storm, Wednesday and Thursday will be dry, then a fast-moving storm should bring 4-8 inches on Thursday night, giving us a decent chance for more powder on Friday morning.
Short Term Forecast
The snowfall on Tuesday night did not work out as we (and most models) expected. Instead of the most snow falling on the northern and eastern mountains, the most snow fell on the central and southern mountains. I'll explain why I think this happened below.
6” Rocky Mountain National Park (backcountry)
3” Cooper (closed)
3” Vail (closed)
3” Winter Park
10” Aspen Mountain (closed)
10” Monarch (closed)
8” Snowmass (closed)
7” Aspen Highlands (closed)
7” Buttermilk (closed)
6” Powderhorn (closed)
4” Crested Butte (closed)
12” Telluride (closed)
The central mountains saw a lot of snow and below is the snow stake cam at Aspen Mountain. Their lifts are not spinning, but there is plenty of powder on the hill.
In the northern mountains, the most snow fell at A-Basin with about 6 inches on Tuesday night.
I believe two things happened that led to the flip-flop between the forecast and the actual snowfall amounts.
For the northern and eastern mountains, snow totals were lower than expected because thunderstorms occurred over the plains on Tuesday afternoon and this disrupted the flow of moisture into the eastern mountains. The forecast models often struggle when forecasting thunderstorms and the only model that did a pretty good job of showing the lower totals in the northern mountains was the European model (it is not always the best model, but in this case, it did very well).
For the southern and central mountains, these areas were closest to the storm's center of circulation, and it was this area that saw the most storm energy and lift, which created the most snow. Many of the forecast models showed decent 5-10 inch totals for this area, but this forecast was overshadowed by the potentially higher amounts over the northern and eastern mountains.
Wednesday will offer powder at most mountains, generally in the 3-6 inch range for open resorts. On Wednesday morning, the storm is in southeastern Colorado and is moving away, leaving mostly dry weather for most of our mountains. I think that this new snow will ride nicely given it fell on top of Tuesday morning's fresh snow, and get after the powder early before the sun cooks it into mush later in the morning.
Thursday will be dry and warm with a high temperature in the 30s.
On Thursday night, a fast-moving storm tracking from north to south will bring snow to most mountains with 4-8 inches likely falling between Thursday at sunset and Friday at sunrise. This means that Friday morning should offer powder and it could be the last colder powder morning for at least the next week and maybe the next few months.
The multi-model average snow forecast for Thursday night shows 4-8 inches targeting the northern and central mountains.
The CAIC high-resolution model is roughly in line with the 4-8 inches from the multi-model forecast.
The OpenSnow high-resolution version #1 model is also in line with the 4-8 inch forecast though it shifts the higher totals a little south and east.
And the OpenSnow high-resolution version #2 model is a little lower with 3-6 inches for many areas and a 4-8 inch bullseye for the northeastern mountains, which might make sense based on a wind direction from the north.
To sum up, there will be a burst of snow on Thursday night and this will result in some powder on Friday morning, likely best enjoyed on top of groomed or shaded slopes as otherwise there will be a hard base due to the warm temperatures on Thursday and then colder temperatures on Thursday night.
Following the storm on Thursday night and some powder on Friday morning, we'll see dry weather on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. After that, it looks like showers will return during the second half of next week and there might be a period of steadier snow and rain later in the week.
Thanks for reading!
My final post of the season will be on Friday, April 28.
And even though our Daily Snow posts will take a break over the summer, remember that your OpenSnow All-Access subscription (list of all features) is good for 365 days.
Here are some things that you might find useful during the summer and fall:
- Forecasts Anywhere on Earth
- Live & Forecast Radar
- Wildfire Smoke Forecast Maps
- Estimated Trail Conditions
- Air Quality Forecast Maps
- Hourly Lightning Forecasts
- Historical Weather
- Offline Satellite & Terrain Maps
This means you can use OpenSnow to track the freeze/thaw cycle for corn snow and peak-bagging this spring, avoid lightning and wildfire smoke this summer, escape to the desert next fall, and find every powder day next winter.
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