I love summer, but I love snow more. We have two storms to talk about, one this Friday and Saturday and another later next week. The brunt of each storm will likely track to the north of Colorado, but we will still see cooler air, a chance for snowflakes on the peaks, and an increase in wind speed. It's great to see organized large-scale storms once again gracing the weather maps!
Short Term Forecast
The colors are changing in the Aspen leaves across Colorado. Here is a picture from September 12th in Crested Butte, showing not just golden Aspen leaves but also a dusting of snow above treeline which was a result of a passing afternoon shower.
Storms return, fires should subside
The fire season in the Northwest and the northern Rockies has been very active. Here is a map of the current fires.
Thankfully, the hot and dry weather that allow the fires to burn will come to an abrupt end over the next week and beyond. The map below shows precipitation compared to average through the next two weeks. The area of green to the northwest of Colorado shows above average precipitation. This should largely suppress the fires.
Storm #1 in general
The first of two storms should hit the western US and Canada late this week into the weekend. Snow will fall over about 6,000-7,000 feet, mostly for areas north of Colorado.
Our forecast combining the National Weather Service and European Model shows close to a foot in parts of Montana by the end of the weekend.
And the University of Utah Model shows 4-10 inches at Big Sky over the same period.
Storm #1 in Colorado
Here in Colorado, we'll see a few impacts.
Expect rain and high-elevation snow showers on Thursday evening into Friday morning. This will be in advance of the main storm.
Then the main storm will push through on Friday night into Saturday. Most of the moisture will stay to the north of Colorado, but our temperatures will drop and the northern half of the state should see rain and snow, with flakes near and above treeline (11,000ft, ish).
If you're planning to enjoy time in the mountains on Friday, be mindful of gusty winds.
And, speaking of wind, please remember the gusty winds when thinking of making a campfire. Not only will this storm bring wind, but next week's storm should bring even stronger winds. If all of your campfire embers are not completely extinguished, strong winds even days later can cause a spark and ignite a fire. A super no bueno.
Temperatures next week and beyond should stay cool across the West, with the coolest air to the west and north of Colorado.
We should see the second storm of the year later next week, roughly between Wednesday 9/20 and Saturday 9/23. Like the first storm, storm #2 will likely bring the most snow and coldest air to the north of Colorado.
Thus, the biggest impact in Colorado might be the winds, which could become quite gusty (30-50+ mph) next Wednesday.
The wind will increase the risk of wildfires spreading, and could also blow a lot of golden Aspen leaves from their branches. While this weekend and early next week might be a bit early for the peak of fall color, consider making a trip to see the leaves because the brightest ones might not make it through the wind later next week. Of course, some leaves will hang on against the wind, so this isn't the end of fall color, I just wanted to share this thought.
Thanks for reading ... I'll be back on Friday 9/22.
This year's Matchstick Productions ski movie premieres in Denver on Thursday 9/14. In addition to good ski action, the trailer hints that the movie will make fun of the traditional ski movie. I like that. We shouldn't take ourselves too seriously! I can't make it to the Denver show but hope to be at the Boulder show in late October. More info and the trailer can be found here: https://skimovie.com/events/denver-colorado-world-premiere/
OpenSnow events in Denver & Boulder
One of the best ways to enjoy powder and explore new terrain is a cat ski or heli ski trip. I get tons of questions every year about what these trips are like and where to go.
To help answer these questions and as an excuse to get together with the OpenSnow community of people who love pow, we are hosting two events in late September.
At the events, we'll eat and drink, I'll give a talk comparing snow at various locations, you'll hear from a friend who has skied at 11 locations and can talk about the differences between Colorado, British Columbia, and Alaska, and we will also have a heli-ski guide with 27 years of experience who will provide a behind-the-scenes understanding of the safety and operational aspects of these trips.
Denver - Tuesday, Sep 26
Boulder - Thursday, Sep 28
Mark your calendar and look for more info by the end of the week!
Do what you love
Skiing pow was a passion well before OpenSnow was a business, so I have a deep connection to people that also want to turn their passion into a business that provides a useful product. In that vein, my best friend's uncle lives in Whitefish Montana and has spent years, as a boater, working to create a grip for oars that is form fitting and keeps the orientation of the oars on point. His Kickstarter will go live next week and here's a teaser video about the product, Gilman Grips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WAFetbTZpg