Colorado Daily Snow

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

By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 8 years ago December 12, 2015

Saturday Powder Day



Snow should fall moderately to heavily on many mountains during the day on Saturday, so enjoy the freshies! The storm has slowed, so some snow could fall after lifts close on Saturday afternoon, making for soft turns on Sunday morning as well. Sunday and Sunday night will be dry, then another storm will bring a low-to-moderate powder day for southern Colorado on Monday, with the best snow transitioning to northern Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday.


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So far I am pretty happy with how the forecast is working out.

On Friday, the band of heavier snow did hit Steamboat with about 6 inches during the day, while the rest of the state saw times of light snow showers with 0-1 inches.

Then on Friday night, heavy snow fell in the southern and far western portions of Colorado, with 7 inches for Powderhorn, Telluride, and Purgatory, and 8 inches Wolf Creek. This snow over the western/southern portion of the state moved just far enough east that most other mountains were able to squeeze out 1-3 inches as of the 5am report on Saturday.

Now on Saturday morning, things are getting interesting. One narrow band of heavy snow dropped 2-4 inches in 2 hours over summit county, hitting Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Abasin, and Loveland. This band of snow has likely shifted out of the area by ~8am, but there is more where that came from. Edit: it's still cranking over Summit County at 930am with 5-9 inches since about 5am. This is notable because it's not snowing that hard over surround areas.

A look at the infrared satellite image at 715am shows cold cloud tops (blue and green colors), which indicate the likelihood of heavier snow on a line from south to north, currently over western Colorado and moving slowly to the east.



The satellite image agrees with the models, showing that most mountains should see snow throughout the day with 4-7 inches as the average accumulation across the state. The map below shows the snow prediction from the high resolution CAIC model during the day on Friday. I think it is overdone (red colors show 10+ inches for most mountains, I would drop that by a few inches as an average), but some mountains could get into the double digits if they see multiple periods of heavy snow.

Source: CAIC /


Since the storm has slowed down by 6-12 hours, I think many mountains will continue to see snow fall after the lifts close around 4pm on Saturday. This means that Sunday morning could also be fun with at least 1-3 inches of snow falling between about 4pm Saturday afternoon and about midnight on Saturday night.

Sunday and Sunday night will be dry, then our next storm will bring snow beginning on Monday and lasting into Tuesday. This storm will have less moisture than our current storm, so I think amounts will be lower overall, perhaps in the 3-6 or 4-8 inch range, compared with our current storm which should bring 6-12+ inches to most mountains.

On Monday, the best powder will likely be in the south and west, over Powderhorn, Telluride, Purgatory, Silverton, and Wolf Creek. Then the snow will transition to the central and northern mountains on Monday night into Tuesday, with 2-4 or 3-6 inches for these areas.

When I look at the weather pattern for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, typically I would get very excited for powder days in the northern mountains with a continuous period of northwest flow. However, moisture will be limited during this time as the airmass will be very cold, so I am having a hard time putting more than an inch or two in the forecast each day. That could still mean soft and fun conditions in the north during the middle of next week, but I think the chance of big powder is low based on the limited moisture.

The following weekend should be dry (December 19-20), then our next chance for snow should coming during the days just before Christmas.

Thanks for reading and have fun out there on Saturday!




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— Geography Key —

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass


Along the Divide
Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek (Telluride and Silverton are on the northern 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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