Colorado Daily Snow

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By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 11 days ago April 3, 2024

Powder and wind this weekend

Summary

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will be dry, sunny, and warm. Then a strong storm will bring snow from Friday night through Sunday. Most mountains should receive 5-10 inches of snow and Saturday should be the best day for powder. On Sunday, the far northern mountains could see a second powder day due to continued snowfall. After that, the next chance for snow will be April 9-10.

Short Term Forecast

Tuesday

Tuesday was sunny and warm-ish with a high temperature in the 30s.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Wednesday and Thursday will be mostly sunny and warm with a high temperature in the 40s. 

Friday will also be mostly sunny and warm with a high temperature in the 40s, and winds will be an issue with gusts of 30-50+ mph during the midday and afternoon.

On all three days, snow conditions will range from crunchy in the morning, to soft/corn during the late morning and midday, to slush by the afternoon. Also, Friday's gusty winds may delay the transition from crunch to soft.

Saturday & Sunday

The forecast models are coalescing around a solution for the weekend storm.

The important forecast adjustment is that we will likely see a decent amount of snow by Saturday's first chair, so Saturday should be a powder day at most mountains with 2-6 inches by first chair and another 3-6 inches during the morning and midday. The snow will likely slow down later in the afternoon.

The map below shows the multi-model snow forecast from Friday night through Saturday afternoon, and most areas should see at least 4-8 inches. There is some upside potential due to the strength of the storm, but the storm will also lack moisture which is an unfortunate factor that could work against higher snow totals.

Saturday morning's snow quality should be reasonably fluffy due to cool-ish temperatures, but gusty winds during the late morning, midday, and afternoon could decrease snow quality and also create issues with lift operations. 

On Saturday night, the best chance for significant additional accumulations will be north of I-70 around Steamboat and Cameron Pass. These areas will receive more moisture and storm energy wrapping around the storm. Also, a wind from the west is favorable for these spots, so they are my pick for having the highest chance for powder on Sunday morning.

During the day on Sunday, additional snowfall will continue to favor the far northern mountains around Steamboat and Cameron Pass.

During Saturday and Sunday, all mountains will deal with windy conditions, and 30-50 mph gusts could impact snow quality and lift operations.

Also, higher mountains and foothills just east of the divide and near and north of I-70 could see extremely fast winds on Sunday with gusts of 70-100 mph. Even the lower-resolution models, like the European global model shown above, are pointing out this potential for strong winds, so it's something to pay attention to if you live or recreate in this area. These speeds can cause true safety issues (downed trees, low visibility due to blowing snow, fire danger, rollover of high-profile vehicles, etc).

Extended Forecast

Next Monday, April 8, should be dry.

Then the next storm will track to the southeast of Colorado on Tuesday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 10. The average of all models is for most mountains to see just light (or no) snow, while the eastern and southeastern mountains could see significant snow. This storm track may favor Cuchara, with lower but still above zero odds for significant snow east of the divide and farther north up to around the I-70 area.

Description: The graphic above shows 51 versions of the European EPS ensemble model (top) on the y-axis (vertical) and 15 days from left to right on the x-axis (horizontal). Each colored rectangle shows a chance for precipitation, with grey equaling little precipitation, green equaling light precipitation, and blues and oranges showing significant precipitation. The more the colors are aligned vertically, the higher the confidence in the forecast.

Following the storm on April 9-10, we will likely see dry and warm weather for about one week, then the next chance for a storm will be around April 17-21.

My next update will be Thursday morning.

Thanks for reading!

Joel Gratz

Announcements

NEW: Snow Ratio Forecast

You can now get a good idea of the upcoming snow quality for the next storm via our new "Snow Ratio" forecast for any location in OpenSnow.

When we talk about snow quality, such as “light and fluffy” or “heavy and wet”, we are talking about the snow-to-liquid ratio. The higher the snow-to-liquid ratio, the lighter the snow quality, and vice-versa.

  1. Go to any location screen and tap the "Snow Summary" tab.
  2. Scroll down to the 5-day hourly or 10-day forecast section.
  3. View the 5-day hourly or daily "Snow Ratio" forecast for the next 10 days.

10:1 will be fun but will feel a little heavy.

15:1 will offer some face shots and feel pretty light.

20:1 will be incredibly light, almost like skiing through nothing but air.

This new feature is currently available with the latest version of the OpenSnow iOS app installed (App Store > OpenSnow > Update), on the OpenSnow website (OpenSnow.com), and is currently rolling out to the OpenSnow Android app.

View → Snow Ratio Forecast

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

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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