Jackson Hole Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Jackson Hole Daily Snow

By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago November 30, 2023

Major Storm Cycle Friday to Monday

Summary

A big storm cycle remains on track for this weekend with a series of storms expected beginning Thursday night and continuing through Monday morning. This cycle will produce 4-day snow totals of 15-30 inches at Targhee and the upper slopes of Jackson Hole through Monday, which is great news in terms of building our early-season base. The cycle will start cold and end warm (upside down) however.

Short Term Forecast

Storm Cycle Summary from a Snow Conditions/Skiing Perspective:

  1. Confidence is growing that we will receive a lot of snow over the next several days, which is great news as our early snowpack is running well below average. I'm expecting the higher elevations of the Tetons to pick up 15-30 inches of total snowfall through Monday. 

  2. Given the marginal pre-existing conditions, I see this storm as being more of a base-building event that will set us up for better skiing conditions in future storms. There will likely be some fun turns to be had at Targhee since there is a decent amount of terrain open, but early-season conditions still exist so be careful. This storm should help to get more terrain open at Jackson Hole once the new snow settles.

  3. Backcountry conditions are going to be challenging from an avalanche perspective as there are already some pre-existing weird layers, and the new storm will start cold and end warm, which means an upside-down (and more dangerous) snow profile. Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center daily forecasts begin on Friday (December 1st).

  4. The warm-up toward the end of this cycle and transition to dense snow may help us in the long run as the higher moisture content snow will help to set a more solid foundation once it settles, covering up rocks and other early-season obstacles. Even if it doesn't help with short-term skiing conditions early next week. 

Ok, let's dive into the details of this storm cycle...

Timing:

The cold part of this storm cycle will impact the Tetons from Thursday night through Saturday night. We will see a series of shortwaves arrive from the northwest during this period. 

The first such disturbance on Thursday night/Friday morning will be on the weaker side and most of the snowfall will be orographic in nature, with light/moderate west/southwest winds likely favoring Targhee initially.

A second stronger disturbance arrives Friday PM and this will result in heavier and more widespread snow from Friday afternoon through Friday night. Snow will be low-density powder and would be great for skiing if we had a better foundation for it. 

On Saturday, the third disturbance will move through. We may see some lulls early followed by a round of heavier snow Saturday afternoon/evening as the jet stream noses its way into our area. Strong winds out of the west to WSW are also expected throughout the day on Saturday and snow quality may trend a tad denser as a result.

The warm part of this storm cycle will enter the picture on Sunday as a plume of subtropical moisture associated with an atmospheric river arrives, along with a warm front approaching from the southwest. 

Models are not in great agreement with the timing of this wave, but for now, additional snow with this feature is likely in the Sunday morning to Monday morning window with perhaps the heaviest snowfall rates on Sunday night.

Also, snow will be trending wetter/denser over time as warmer air arrives and winds will remain strong out of the west to WSW.

Snowfall is expected to taper off at some point during the day on Monday. It's possible that precipitation could end as a rain/snow mix in the valleys at the very end, but confidence is low. 

Snow Totals:

The cold part of this storm from Thursday night to Saturday night will produce 10-20 inches of snow across the higher terrain of the Tetons (including JHMR and Targhee), with 5-11 inches in Teton Valley and 3-8 inches in the Jackson Hole Valley.

The warm part of this storm Sunday-Monday will produce an additional 5-10 inches of snow across the higher terrain of the Tetons (including JHMR and Targhee), with 1-4 inches for the valleys on both sides. 

Storm total snowfall at Grand Targhee and the upper slopes of Jackson Hole will range from 15-30 inches. The predominant wind direction will be out of the west/southwest occasionally veering to the west or even west/northwest. This is typically most favorable for Targhee, but with strong winds aloft expected the upper portion of JHMR will also see deep totals.

Here is my total snow forecast by location:

 

And here is my day-to-day forecast breakdown:

Here is a zoomed-in graphical projection over the Tetons from a blend of weather models:

And here is a statewide view of Wyoming:

In addition to the Tetons, the Snake River Range and Greys River region (Salt River/Wyoming Ranges) to the south are also going to get dumped on with deep totals expected. The Absarokas, Gros Ventres, and Northern Winds will also do well but totals will not be as heavy compared to the Tetons.

Wind:

Winds will start out light to moderate initially, but will start to pick up on Friday PM, becoming strong from Saturday through Monday.

Here is our wind forecast for the Jackson Hole Summit at 10,400 feet on Saturday:

And here is our wind forecast for Sunday:

You can view wind forecasts for any location and elevation using our Forecast Anywhere feature, or by visiting ski resort-specific pages to get an idea of mid-mountain conditions. To view the forecasts in graphical form, tap on the "Weather" tab. For snow totals and snow-specific info, tap on the "Snow Summary" tab.

Travel:

Winter conditions will start to take hold over Teton Pass through the course of the day on Friday with a slow commute likely on Friday afternoon/evening.

Saturday morning through Monday morning will feature the most severe conditions over the pass with a combination of snow-packed roads, heavy snowfall rates, blowing snow, and reduced visibility. Overnight avalanche control may also be necessary.

Valley travel impacts are expected as well, with areas of blowing/drifting snow and reduced visibility on Saturday and Sunday.

Improvement is expected across the board by Monday afternoon at the earliest, and definitely by Tuesday.

Extended Forecast

After this storm, we will see a break in the pattern on Tuesday (Dec 5) and Wednesday (Dec 6) as a ridge of high pressure builds in from the south.

However, warmer air will continue to filter in from the southwest in the wake of this storm with freezing levels approaching the summits of Jackson Hole and Targhee. This also looks like a "dirty ridge" in which we will hang onto varying levels of cloud cover and gusty winds.

Our next chance of snow will be around Thursday-Friday (Dec 7th-8th) as a storm approaches and a cold front moves through. I'm not sure yet if this will turn into a decent snow event or if it will just be a quick-hitting round of snow with the cold frontal passage.

Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Friday (December 1).

Alan Smith 

Announcements

Pinpoint Weather Forecasts, Worldwide

Our weather forecasts are available for any location on Earth.

Go to the "Maps" screen in the OpenSnow app and tap any location to get the forecast, instantly, or search for any location (on land) using the dedicated "Search" tool.

This means that you can view OpenSnow forecasts for your favorite ski resorts, backcountry ski locations, high-alpine missions, Mumbai, Aconcagua, and for your current location.

Save up to five custom locations to view on your Favorites screen for quick and convenient access to the latest 10-day snow forecast, current conditions, snowfall history, and more.

Forecasts Anywhere → OpenSnow.com/explore

About Our Forecaster

Alan Smith

Meteorologist

Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been working in the private sector since 2013. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating.

Free OpenSnow App