Colorado Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Colorado Daily Snow

By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 3 months ago December 3, 2023

More snow and a lot of wind

Summary

Saturday and Saturday night delivered some more snow, but the big story now on Sunday morning is the wind across the northern and central mountains, where gusts are 40-80mph. The snow and wind will continue through Sunday night, and then the weather will turn calm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Our next chance for a moderate storm will be December 8-10.

Short Term Forecast

Before getting to the forecast, I want to share a series of pictures from Wolf Creek on Saturday morning. Conditions featured 12 inches of pretty fluffy snow, and some sharks (rocks) still present under the snow. One of these sharks grabbed one of Scott's skis and caused the tumble.

And so it goes during the early season!

On Sunday morning, the snow is flying and the wind is cranking. It's tough to measure snowfall when summit wind gusts are 40-80mph as the wind affects the snow like this:

Below is my best effort to estimate storm total snowfall. Each of the three numbers to the right of the total represents the amount of snow as of Friday morning, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning.

Northern Mountains

16” (2+7+7) Steamboat
13” (3+6+4) Copper
13” (5+5+3) Vail
11” (4+4+3) Breckenridge
9” (3+2+2) Cameron Pass
9” (0+3+6) Keystone
9” (2+6+1) Winter Park
7” (1+2+4) A-Basin
7” (3+3+1) Beaver Creek
7” (0+2+5) Eldora
6” (1+2+3) Loveland
3” (1+1+1) Cooper

Central Mountains

23” (6+15+2) Irwin
21” (4+7+10) Monarch
15” (1+5+9) Crested Butte
10” (4+4+2) Aspen Highlands
10” (4+4+2) Aspen Mountain
10” (4+4+2) Buttermilk
10” (4+4+2) Snowmass
9” (3+5+1) Powderhorn

Southern Mountains

21” (6+14+1) Telluride
17” (4+12+1) Wolf Creek
14” (8+4+2) Red Mountain Pass (low confidence)
13” (2+7+4) Purgatory

The most new snow on Saturday and Saturday night fell at Crested Butte and Monarch with 9-10 inches. These areas can do well when the wind direction is from the west-southwest.

Now on Sunday morning, it's snowing, and it's windy, and I'm skeptical about the snow/riding quality due to the wind. Also, the new snow plus strong winds have increased avalanche risk in the backcountry.

In terms of additional snow accumulations, it'll continue to snow across most northern and central mountains on Sunday, with a lull around Sunday at sunset, and then a final wave of snow for the northern mountains near and north of I-70 on Sunday night, with snow ending by Monday morning.

The graphic below shows the forecast snow through Monday morning, with a few of these inches already falling just before sunrise on Sunday morning.

There are a lot of double-digits on this map, which is a good thing, but again, remember that it's windy and snow quality and overall conditions could be sub-par.

The best time to ride might be on Monday as the storm moves away from the northern 2/3rds of Colorado and mountain crews may be able to open more terrain.

Extended Forecast

Looking ahead to life after the current storm, we'll see dry conditions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Temperatures will warm during this time with highs in the 30s and 40s on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The low sun angle should allow north-facing slopes to retain good quality snow, though south-facing slopes could be impacted by the sun and warm temperatures.

The next chance for a storm will be on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (December 8-10). Most versions of most models now agree that this will be a moderate event across the state with an average of 4-8 inches with maybe some powder on Friday and/or Saturday. We'll dial in the details as the storm gets closer.

And after the storm from December 8-10, I have no idea what's going to happen. Some model forecasts show us just missing additional storms into mid-December, and other model forecasts show these storms tracking over Colorado. We'll wait and see and hope for the snow!

Thanks for reading!

Joel Gratz

Upcoming Events

Please join me at my last community talk of this early season. I'll discuss the season ahead and new weather forecasting technology and answer all of your questions as best as possible. I'll also hand out OpenSnow swag:-) Let's get excited for winter to return!

  • Friday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Angry James Brewing in Silverthorne. Organized by and supporting the Keystone Ski Patrol.

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Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, 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

Central Mountains
Aspen, Snowmass, 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

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About Our Forecaster

Joel Gratz

Founding Meteorologist

Joel Gratz is the Founding Meteorologist of OpenSnow and has lived in Boulder, Colorado since 2003. Before moving to Colorado, he spent his childhood as a (not very fast) ski racer in eastern Pennsylvania.

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