There are still some deep turns to enjoy in the northern mountains following the last storm, but the snow is settling. As of today and this weekend, a few mountains will start spinning their lifts with limited terrain. The next chance for natural snow will be on Saturday with a few flakes, later next week, and then ... perhaps we'll need to wait until the end of the month for a significant storm.
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Short Term Forecast
Since I've been talking about it for a few days, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that we don't have much snow in the forecast.
However, if you want to ski pow, there is still some to be had.
This photo was from the far northern mountains, which is the area that received the most snow from the recent storm.
The good news today is that Copper, Breckenridge, and Keystone are opening (with very, very limited terrain). Wolf Creek is also going to spin some lifts over the weekend. This is in addition to Loveland and Arapahoe Basin which have been open for some time.
It's fun to see mountains opening, but of course, to open more terrain, we need more snow and more cold weather for snowmaking. Unfortunately, I do not see any significant storms or times of very cold air between now and at least November 20-25th.
The northern mountains should see a few flakes and cooler temperatures on Saturday, and then temperatures should cool once again later next week. These cooler readings will help with snowmaking, but they will not lead to massive terrain openings.
I am searching as hard as I can to find when our dry weather may switch to snowy weather. My best guess is that this could happen no earlier than late in November, and perhaps closer to early December. Weather forecasts 3-6 weeks into the future are not very accurate, so I have no ability to tell you exactly what day or even what week we might see a pattern shift.
If and when the pattern does shift, we'll need a solid two-ish weeks of cold and snow to open a lot of terrain. There have been times in the past 10 seasons when the winter started out slow, like this year, then the snow started in early-to-mid December and didn't stop for many weeks. I hope that's what we'll see coming up in December, but of course, there's no guarantee.
A few folks have been emailing me to ask about my thoughts about how much terrain will be open over the next couple of week. Here's a shout out to Chase and his dad in Tennessee who are nervously watching the forecast for late November!
The answer about how much terrain will be open depends on when the pattern changes. When the pattern does change, it'll take 10-20 days for the snow to pile up and a lot more terrain to open.
I'll keep my eye on every model I can find, including the 45-day forecast from the European model and the CFSv2 model. But I have little trust in any model beyond about 10-15 days ... beyond that, it's nearly a guess.
My advice at this point is not to panic. Get in shape, take what the weather gives you, hike for turns if you're excited to get out there, enjoy a few groomed runs at the resorts if that's your thing, and know that you will ski pow this winter – it just might take longer than we want to arrive.
Thanks for reading!
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