Colorado Daily Snow

More details on Friday's storm, which will hit all mountains with snow and cold air

Summary

Wednesday and Thursday will be dry, then snow will begin on Thursday night, continue through Friday, and end on Friday night. The most intense snowfall may occur on Friday afternoon and evening with possible road closures. Total accumulations should be in the 5-10 inch range for most mountains as the storm should be an equal-opportunity snow provider across the state. If you can find open terrain or a base, there will be powder to enjoy on Saturday morning. Then the week of Thanksgiving looks mostly dry.

Thanksgiving in Breckenridge

Hit the slopes of Breckenridge early this year for short lift lines and low lodging rates! Spend your Thanksgiving with Beaver Run Resort for a traditional feast and slope-side accommodations. Rooms up to 20% off: http://opsw.co/2jfgHuI

Short Term Forecast

Here is the view from Breckenridge looking east on Tuesday afternoon. There are two trails open, and as you can see by looking at the mountains in the distance, we need more snow!

Wednesday and Thursday will stay dry, with nighttime temperatures dropping low enough for most mountains to make some snow. But temperatures will not be that low for that long, so snowing will not be able to really crank up.

Storm 15 – snow Thursday night through Friday night

We have been talking about this storm for days, and it is still on track.

The newest models do show two semi-major updates.

First update – the track of the storm will likely be a bit further south than originally forecast. This means that all mountains should now see significant snow rather than just the northern and central mountains.

For example, here is the University of Utah ensemble forecast showing multiple versions of the American GFS and Canadian models for Red Mountain Pass, in the southern mountains roughly between Telluride and Silverton. The forecast range is about 3-19 inches with an average of 10 inches. These numbers are trending higher compared to the forecast a few days ago.

Second update – models are agreeing that there should be a period of intense snow between about 2 pm - 10 pm as the cold front moves across the state, which will coincide with the jet stream sitting overhead. During a few hours in this window, snowfall could be intense with 1-2 inch-per-hour rates, and combined with strong winds, we might see road closures.

For example, at Berthoud Pass, the CAIC WRF 4km model shows the intense snowfall between about 4 pm - 7 pm  on Friday afternoon (lower red arrow) with temperatures dropping to the single digits (upper red arrow). Are your snow tires on?! Please get them - they are worth every penny!

The total snowfall forecast is looking good. Most areas should be in the 5-10 inch range, with 10-15 inches in some spots, especially around the central mountains.

A few more thoughts on the storm

Friday will be warm with a gusty wind from the west-southwest. This means that snow levels will be on the higher side, between about 8,500-9,500 feet. If you see rain in the valleys, don't worry, it will get colder later in the storm. Also, the wind direction from the west-southwest can be favorable for the central mountains around Irwin, Crested Butte, Monarch, and Snowmass while this direction is NOT as favorable for snowfall at mountains further north near and along I-70.

Also, I'll try to pin down the timing of the cold front and the most intense snow on Friday evening. Stay tuned during the next day or two.

Remember, terrain is very limited, so do NOT expect a mid-winter-like powder day on Friday or Saturday. That said, on Friday you will find fresh snow along with windy and stormy weather. On Saturday morning, expect fresh snow (that fell on Friday evening), calmer winds and temperatures in the teens.

Extended Forecast

Aside from a small chance for snow on Tuesday, November 21st, most of Thanksgiving week will be dry. The storm track will likely stay to our north and west during this time.

I am rather confident that Thanksgiving week will be dry, but then again, about one week ago, it didn't look like we'd see a significant storm on Friday, November 17th, so things can and do change.

And, looking further ahead, some models are beginning to hint at a more active weather pattern.

We will eventually transition to cooler and stormier weather but I do not know exactly when this will happen. The map above is just a long-term estimate for the end of November, please don't trust it down to a single date. Also, often pattern changes take longer than the models think, so we may not see a serious shift until early or even mid-December. Annnnnd, forecasts beyond 10-15 days have very little skill, so take all of this with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Like yesterday, I want to end with a note about what we offer on Opensnow aside from this Colorado Daily Snow. One of the more valuable pieces of information is the 'Daily Snow' posts specifically for some of the more popular mountains. You can see all of these posts on our app, and here are the direct links for those of you reading on a browser:

Colorado
Breckenridge: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/breckenridge
Copper: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/copper
Steamboat: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/steamboat
Vail: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/vail

Northern Rockies
Grand Targhee: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/grandtarghee
Jackson Hole: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/jacksonhole
Sun Valley: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/sunvalley

California
Mammoth: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/mammoth
Squaw/Alpine: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/squawalpine

Canada
Whistler: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/whistler

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see many of you at my talks in Colorado Springs and Denver this week ... see below for details!

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Colorado Forecast Page https://opensnow.com/state/co
Download  The OpenSnow Mobile App

New Backcountry Guide Book
Brittany Konsella and Frank Konsella, authors of 14erskiers.com, just released a guidebook with 102 backcountry routes in Colorado, spanning the range from mid-winter powder to technical spring ski mountaineering. Read more and order the book here:
https://14erskiers.com/blog/backcountry-ski-snowboard-routes-colorado/

I am giving a talk in 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
- Topic: outlook for the winter, update on Friday's storm, tricks to forecasting snow in Colorado

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
- Topic: outlook for the winter, update on Friday's storm, tricks to forecasting snow in Colorado

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

Upgrade to OpenSnow All-Access and receive exclusive benefits.

  • Hourly Forecasts for 3 days
  • Daily Forecasts for 10 days
  • Favorite & Timelapse Cams
  • Custom Forecast Alerts
  • No Banner Advertisments

See the whole picture for only $19/year and never miss another powder day.