Snow will begin over the central and northern mountains on Saturday and continue off-and-on through Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Most of this time will be rather warm with the best snow falling above 10,000 feet, and then a cold front will drop snow levels on Tuesday into Wednesday. Storm total accumulations will likely range from 5-25 inches, with the deepest totals in the west-central mountains and the west-northern mountains (more explanation below). The best chance to ski powder at Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and some backcountry areas will likely occur on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Short Term Forecast
The clear weather during the latter part of the week is providing beautiful views. Here is a shot on Thursday night from the summit of Pikes Peak, looking east to the nearly full moon.
And this is the sun setting over Arapahoe Basin on Thursday evening.
Snow from Saturday through Tuesday night
I am excited about this storm because we will see snow for four or even five days, all mountains should see flakes, and it's early November, so I am anxious to start building the base.
Unfortunately, this storm will NOT bring perfect conditions to create big totals at most ski areas. Temperatures will be too warm, and the combination of the storm's track and the wind direction will not be ideal.
From Saturday through Monday, multiple waves of snow will move across Colorado.
Temperatures will be warm, with snow levels ranging from about 8,000 feet in the north to closer to 10,000 feet in the south.
The best storm energy will move over the central and northern mountains.
The wind direction from the southwest and west-southwest will favor the mountains west of Crested Butte and Aspen, the Flattops, and the mountains north of Steamboat. Normally a wind from the southwest and west-southwest would favor the southern mountains as well, but with the best storm energy moving further north, the southern mountains may not see much snow through Monday.
I anticipate 1-3 inches of snow at most central and northern mountains each day and night during this time. To get the higher end of these totals, we'll need to be lucky and have a stronger band track right over a certain area, or be in the favored areas west of CB/Aspen, the Flattops, and north of Steamboat.
From Monday through Wednesday morning, a stronger and colder part of the storm will drop snow levels and there is a better chance for more snow for more mountains.
This is the snow forecast from Saturday through Wednesday averaged across multiple model versions.
The deepest totals, likely more than 20 inches, should target the mountains west of Crested Butte and Aspen (around Irwin and Marble), the Flattops (north of Sunlight), the mountains north of Steamboat, and the mountains well north of Winter Park, around the Never Summer range.
The graphic above is from a lower-resolution set of models, and it will tend to overestimate snow at some areas not favored by most of the storm.
Most ski areas will likely report storm totals in the 5-10 inch range, though if a few intense bands of snow hit certain locations, those lucky mountains could get into the double digits.
The best chance to ski colder powder will likely be on Tuesday throughout the day and Wednesday morning. Of course, there will be powder before this time, but with colder temperatures moving in on Tuesday and Wednesday, those days are my pick.
Following this storm, unfortunately, it appears that the colder air and best chance for snow will retreat to the northwest of Colorado. This map shows the forecast for temperatures compared to the average from November 8-12.
The blue line is the general storm track that I drew in. Any single storm could drop a bit further south and hit Colorado, but the trend in the forecast models is to keep the storm track and coolest air to the northwest.
What does this mean for terrain opening here in Colorado?
If the forecast pans out, many areas will likely have little snow on the ground around the middle of November. But, as we talked about this time last season, when there is little or no snow on the ground in mid-November, there is still a 2/3rds chance that we will have an average or above average base depth by the last week in December. So, don't panic ... yet. I'll let you know when to panic and when we should start burning skis as an offering to the snow gods:-)
Thanks for reading!
Colorado Forecast Page → https://opensnow.com/state/co
Bentgate Mountaineering in Golden on Wednesday, November 8th. See you there!
Mountain Chalet in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, November 15th. See you there!
I'll post more details soon
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, 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
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