Montana Daily Snow

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Sunny Sunday / Light Snowfall Returns Monday & Tuesday


A ridge of high-pressure looks to deliver another pleasant day across the Northern Rockies on Sunday before an incoming Pacific trough turns things generally unsettled Monday with widespread light accumulations Monday night into Tuesday. A little break Weds/Thurs before another low on Friday brings another shot at light to moderate accumulations lasting into Saturday.

Short Term Forecast

WEST of the Continental Divide:

Before we start the forecast, take a look at these recent images from Lost Trail ski area which received significant snowfall (14”) over the past week. (All Images courtesy of Lost Trail/Dave Gardner Creative) 

Sunday: The freeze/thaw cycle continues with chilly morning lows in the upper teens to low 20’s across the region. Mostly sunny skies during the morning hours before a weakening of the high-pressure ridge allows a bit more cloud cover to roll in during the afternoon hours. The warmest day of the weekend with mountain top high temps of 30 – 35F across the region. Light SW winds.  

Monday: A weakening Pacific storm system moves inland and generally dissolves into a broad trough of low-pressure on Monday. Most of the precipitation with this trough will move across the mountains along and south of I-90 Monday and Monday night. Lookout could see up to 4” into Monday night with 1 – 3” possible at Snowbowl, Lost Trail (reopens Thursday), and Disco, again through midnight Monday. Mostly cloudy skies at Whitefish with a few stray sunny spells. Slightly cooler on Monday with mountain top highs of 28 – 32F. Light but gusty E/SE winds. 

Tuesday: Periods of light snow for areas along and south of I-90 continue into Tuesday where Lookout Pass could add another 1 – 2” with trace amounts up to an inch at Snowbowl, Lost Trail and Disco. Whitefish will see cloudy skies and a slight chance of an isolated snow flurry. A couple of degrees cooler with afternoon highs 26 – 30F across the mountain tops with light winds.

Wednesday & Thursday: As the low-pressure trough moves south out of the region expect skies to be a mix of sun and clouds both days with a few isolated snow showers, especially along the Idaho border at Lookout and Lost Trail. Temps stay just slightly below seasonal with highs 29 – 33F across the high country. Light W/SW winds.    

EAST of the Continental Divide: 

Below: The iconic Lone Mountain at Big Sky Resort under mostly sunny skies late Saturday afternoon. 

Sunday: An elongated surface ridge of high-pressure will continue to bring mostly sunny skies across all resorts and areas on Sunday. Temps continue to rise a few degrees but stay just below seasonal averages with 8000’ high temps 29F – 34F. The spring freeze thaw cycle continues. Light SW winds. 

Monday: As a SW flow ushers in a trough of low pressure on Monday it will push the dominant ridge of high-pressure north into Alberta. Monday looks to be a transitional day with mostly cloudy skies during the morning with snow showers developing around noon across the SW mountains at Big Sky and Bridger. Light accumulations of 1 – 3” possible. Cooler with highs at 8000’ 24 – 28 degrees. Light and variable S/SW winds. 

Tuesday: As the Pacific weather system expands across the region Monday night, look for periods of light snow to continue with additional amounts of 1 – 2” likely overnight at Big Sky and Bridger. Trace amounts to an inch at Red Lodge are slightly possible. Temps across the mid-mountain 8000’ level of 22 – 26F. Generally, light NW winds. 

Wednesday & Thursday: As the Pacific trough moves out of the Northern Rockies on Wednesday another trough looms to the southwest across the Great Basin. This trough is favored by a slight majority of the weather models to stay well south of the region bringing mostly cloudy skies and perhaps a slight chance of a few inches across the resorts of SW Montana on both days. The Canadian model is the outlier bringing the trough across the Teton’s of NW Wyoming, which would open the chance for more moderate accumulations at Big Sky and perhaps Bridger Bowl as well. Cooler both days with highs in the low to mid 20’s at 8000’. Light winds.  

Below: The NBM blended model map for projected snowfall over the Treasure State from 5AM local time Monday through 5AM local time on Wednesday. SW Montana locations like Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Red Lodge, and Lost Trail have the highest percentage chance for light to possibly moderate accumulations.  


Extended Forecast

A better organized trough of low-pressure looks to emerge inland off the Pacific on Friday. The GFS brings in through California and generally missing the Northern Rockies (NR) but the Euro and Canadian bring the system just south of the NR with some (?) energy moving into the region Friday and into next weekend. So, we just have to look at the maps again on Monday to see how the Friday through next weekend weather system evolves within the various models. Stay tuned. 

Below: NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's 6 - 10 day forecast keeps temps below seasonal with better than average chances of above average precipitation across the Northern Rockies.



Thanks for tuning in. Next update on Monday 3/20.  

Powder Out – 



Montana Ski Areas & Resorts / Geographical References   

WEST of the Divide: 

Whitefish Mountain Resort – OPEN daily

Blacktail Mountain –OPEN Weds - Sun

Turner Mountain – OPEN Fri - Sun

Lookout Pass (MT/ID) - OPEN daily

Montana Snowbowl –  Open Wednesday – Monday (closed Tues)

Discovery Basin – OPEN daily

Lost Trail Powder Mountain – OPEN Thurs - Sun

EAST of the Divide:

Big Sky Resort – OPEN daily

Bridger Bowl – OPEN daily

Red Lodge Mountain – OPEN daily  

Great Divide – OPEN Weds - Sun

Showdown – OPEN Weds - Sun

Teton Pass Ski Area –OPEN Fri - Sun

Maverick Mountain – OPEN Thurs – Sun


Backcountry Avalanche Reports:

West Central Montana Avalanche Center

 Flathead Avalanche Center

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center: