Colorado Daily Snow

Snowfall is over for now, some deep amounts, not much more on the horizon

Summary

The final round of snow from our four-day storm ended around midnight Tuesday night. The highest totals were close to 20 inches in the far northern mountains, and most mountains saw 4-10" from the storm over multiple days. That's the good news, but the not-so-great news is that I do not see any major storms in the next 10+ days, and while temperatures will be cold enough for some nighttime snowmaking, but readings will generally stay near or above average.

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Short Term Forecast

Following Monday night's snow, there was a bit of a lull on Tuesday, and then the final piece of energy moved across Colorado on Tuesday evening with snow for the northern mountains and southern mountains.

Since most mountains are not officially reporting snow because they are not open, it's tough to get accurate measurements. Here's my best guess for totals from Monday afternoon through Tuesday night via webcams and SNOTEL sites:

Winter Park - 11"

Rocky Mountain National Park - 10"

Wolf Creek - 10"

Winter Park - 6"

Telluride - 6"

Arapahoe Basin - 5"

Beaver Creek - 5"

Steamboat - 5"

Loveland - 4"

This map shows the totals via SNOTEL sites. The northern and far southern mountains saw the most snow (multiply the numbers by about 15 to estimate snowfall).

I will work to figure out the four-day storm totals across the state and post that tomorrow.

One area that was forecast to receive a lot of snow, and that did receive a lot of snow, was Rocky Mountain National Park. The storm total was about 20", and I had been thinking about a personal investigation of this area. Then a reader named Ryan sent me a photo that confirmed there was plenty of snow to skin and ski, and that sealed the deal - my family was off to investigate.

I found a settled snow depth of about 15" at 9,600 feet.

The snow was just the right heft - fluffy enough to have plenty of fun, but thick enough to provide a soft base and not be able to feel the ground. My wife Lauren heading uphill on a mellow slope.

This was the first ski day for my 2-month-old son Levi. The skinning and skiing was so smooth and mellow, he didn't even wake up:-) The only time he opened his eyes was during the transition from skinning to skiing. Sorry little guy, there is no smooth way to make that transition with a 12-pound human strapped to my chest!

The daze on Levi's face isn't his best look (baby selfies are tough), so here's a picture from the day before to prove that he really is a happy boy.

I assure you that the Colorado Daily Snow will NOT turn into a place for Joel to post pictures of Levi, but I did want to share these photos as it was the start of me passing on a love of chasing powder to the next generation, and that's exciting.

Also, I know a few of you will notice that Lauren did not have a pack on, which hints that we did not bring our avalanche gear.

I am a very conservative decision maker, and when I am in the backcountry, I ensure that myself and everyone I am with has and knows how to use a beacon, shovel, probe, and can make good terrain choices.

In this case, we were in an area with zero avalanche potential (what you'd expect when a 2-month-old is strapped to your chest!), so there was no risk to ourselves and there was no possibility that we would need to help others as there was literally no avalanche terrain at our location. I did have a pack that contained standard safety gear like a SPOT device, headlamps, and emergency bivvy sacks. I just wanted to mention all of this before someone jumped on me in the comments:-).

Extended Forecast

Sorry, I do not have great news.

While the northwest will get lots of snow during the next 7-10 days (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, British Columbia, Alberta), we will only see a few weak systems here in Colorado.

The northern mountains and perhaps central mountains could see a few flakes on Saturday and again early next week, but any accumulations will be low.

In terms of temperatures, nighttime lows should be cold enough for most mountains to make snow, but temperatures will stay near or above normal, so there will not be an extended period of time for great snowmaking.

This all means that while some mountains will open on schedule, terrain will likely be limited and some openings might be delayed. I do NOT have any inside information about mountain operations, so I've said about as much as I can say.

I am searching the long-range models, out 15-45 days, for signs of a pattern shift toward cooler and snowy weather. The cooler and snowy weather is close-ish, in the northwest, but I don't see any major signs of it heading toward Colorado between now about November 20th.

There is a chance for somewhat cooler temperatures later next week, and if this happens, it would help snowmaking efforts.

Early-season skiing is always risky in terms of the amount of open terrain. My suggestion is to always have low expectations for skiing in November and early December, and enjoy any turns and powder you can find.

I'll keep searching for the start of a pattern change...

Thanks for reading!

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Colorado Forecast Page https://opensnow.com/state/co

I am giving a talk in Golden on Wednesday, November 8th
- Bent Gate Mountaineering, 1313 Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80401
- My talk will start at 600pm
- More details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1209665705844183/

I am giving a talk Colorado Springs on Wednesday, November 15th.
- Bristol Brewing, 1604 S Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
- My talk will start at 630pm
- Hosted by The Mountain Chalet, a local outdoors shop

I am giving a talk in Denver on Thursday, November 16th.
- Denver Athletic Club, 1325 Glenarm Street, Denver, CO  80204 (Centennial Room, 3rd floor)
- Doors open at 600pm, talk starts around 630pm
- $5 at the door pays for a beer and snacks, cash bar as well
- Parking available in the DAC garage for $5

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, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, 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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