Colorado Daily Snow

Monday morning powder, then a significant storm Friday to Sunday

Summary

Enjoy the soft (and in some places deep) snow on Monday morning thanks to 4-15 inches that accumulated on Sunday and Sunday night. For the rest of Monday, snow showers will stick around the northern mountains. Then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be dry. After that, look for snow on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with likely more than a foot for most or all mountains and a good chance that Saturday and Sunday will be fun powder days.

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Short Term Forecast

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Monday Morning Powder

On Sunday we saw between 1-7 inches fall across the state thanks to decent moisture, decent storm energy, and a wind direction from the southwest and west-southwest.

This wind direction usually favors the southern and parts of the central mountains, though Winter Park in the northern mountains saw a surprise 5-6 inches accumulate during the day on Sunday with big aggregate dendrite flakes providing a beautiful scene!

Then on Sunday late afternoon, a cold front moved across the state and dropped an additional 2-6 inches within a few short hours. Here is how the cold front looked on the radar as it passed at around 4-5 pm.

Following Sunday afternoon's cold front, additional snow accumulated in and west and eventually northwest flow.

The total snowfall from Sunday morning through Monday morning ranges from 4-15 inches. Roughly half of this fell after lifts closed on Sunday afternoon, so Monday morning will ski/ride very, very nicely!

Schofield Pass: 15”
Silverton: 10-20” (estimate)
Aspen Highlands: 14”
Aspen Mountain: 12”
Snowmass: 12”
Telluride: 12”
Breckenridge: 9”
Buttermilk: 9”
Crested Butte: 9”
Wolf Creek: 8-10” (estimate)
Vail: 8”
Winter Park: 8”
Monarch: 5-9” (estimate)
Copper: 6”
Eldora: 6”
Loveland: 6”
Beaver Creek: 5”
Keystone: 5"
Steamboat: 5”
Arapahoe Basin: 4”

I am posting these totals based on snow stake and SNOTEL data because I am writing this before most resorts report, so that’s why you might notice some differences between these numbers and official reports that will come out a bit later in the morning.

The big winner from this storm was the north side of the southern mountains (Telluride, Silverton) as well as the Aspen area. There are two new snow stakes at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass this season and I have then linked here on OpenSnow.

For the rest of Monday, the northern mountains may see an additional coating to 3 inches through midday, otherwise, the snow is mostly over.

Enjoy the pow, and please send pictures to [email protected] so that I can share the best shots during the next few days.

Significant Storm Friday, Saturday, Sunday

If you have been reading the Colorado Daily Snow for many years, you might notice that I often try to be a little conservative with my predictions so that I do not over promise and under deliver.

With that as background, my take on a storm that’s still 5-7 days away is to normally keep my expectations in check.

Every now and then, however, the forecast models show a setup in 5-7 days that seems worthy of higher expectations, and that’s just what I’m seeing for the upcoming storm during Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

We should see snow begin in the northern mountains on Thursday night, with snow for most mountains on Friday, Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, and likely ending at some point on Sunday.

The fact that we could see snow, on-and-off, for the better part 72 hours is reason enough to get excited about significant totals.

Also, multiple ingredients should come together to increase our odds for snow, like strong energy that will move across Colorado in multiple waves, plenty of moisture, a cold front that should hang somewhere over the state and provide a focus for heavier snow, and the jet stream which will be overhead and should provide another focus for heavier snow.

Wrapping this together, the University of Utah multi-model forecast shows a good chance for 12+ inches in all of the northern, central, and southern mountains.

If you’re planning for powder, it looks like Saturday and Sunday will be the deepest days, and right now I’d give the highest odds for the deepest powder to the central mountains, though if the energy/cold front/jet stream push north or south just a bit, the location of the deepest snow will change.

Extended Forecast

Following the significant snow from Friday through Sunday, we will likely see a break in the snow for a few days.

Then most models show a good chance for storminess along the west coast from Monday, December 16 to Friday, December 20th.

I do not know if some of this storminess will head east to Colorado or if we’ll see drier weather throughout the week with most of the precipitation closer to the coast.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Tuesday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

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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, Arapahoe Basin, 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