Sunday evening update. The Pineapple Express delivered the goods on Sunday (yes, Pineapple Express is actually a meteorological term). The first part of our current storm cycle dropped 7-inches at Ski Santa Fe and Taos Ski Valley, and 4 to 5-inches at Red River and Sipapu (estimate), with most of this new snow falling Sunday between 4 am and 4 pm. This is all bonus snow considering that just a few days ago the models said we would be lucky to eke out 3 inches total from this storm cycle.
A second wave of snow will now come through Sunday overnight into Monday. Details below but the quick bottom line is:
- Monday morning should be a fun low to moderate (2 to 6 inches) fluffy snow powder day on both groomed runs and off-piste terrain (since Sunday's new snow on open terrain that was already skied helped soften the base). Small chance we could see 6+ inches at Santa Fe and Taos.
- The ongoing chance for new terrain openings on Monday-Tuesday means there is also a chance for epic turns in terrain not skied yet this season. No guarantee here but the hope and anticipation of the season's first rope drops is always part of what makes early-season skiing so much fun!
Details and Discussion
Currently, on Sunday evening we are in a short lull before another round of snow will develop overnight Sunday and into Monday morning in the northern mountains. The southern mountains around Ski Apache will see additional and potentially deep totals through Tuesday as a separate storm develops around the southern boot heel of New Mexico (Ski Apache was only open Fri-Sun so check their website for latest hours of operation).
While Sunday's snow in the northern mountains was on the denser side due to warmer moisture and temperatures, the snow overnight Sunday and into Monday should be fluffier due to colder air descending over New Mexico. So even if we don't get deep totals overnight, first chair Monday should offer really fun light powder turns on top of the soft base from Sunday's snow.
I think we should see 2 to 6 inches of additional accumulation overnight at Ski Santa Fe and Taos Ski Valley, and 1 to 3 inches at Red River (Sipapu is closed Monday and will reopen Friday). Similar to Sunday, we could wake up Monday to some surprise totals of 6+ inches at the highest elevations of Santa Fe and Taos given the abundant moisture in the atmosphere, but 2 to 6 inches is probably a safer bet.
Below is a sampling of models forecasts for snow accumulation Sunday night through Monday (this is on top of the snow that fell on Sunday). There still remains uncertainty and variation in the models, hence my somewhat more conservative forecast of 2 to 6 inches Sunday night through Monday at Taos and Santa Fe. The chance remains for a 6+ inch surprise by the time chairs start spinning. Models below start with the less bullish models (GFS and SREF Mean in the 1 to 4-inch range), and then followed by the more bullish models (NWS-NDFD and NAM 12km in the 4 to 10-inch range).
This second round of snow Sunday night is once again thanks to the Pineapple Express moisture streaming into the state, combined with colder temperatures dropping down from the north. Below you can see the ongoing tap of tropical moisture in the water vapor image. The upper-level trough spinning off the California coast will eventually turn into a separate storm around the New Mexico bootheel and bring the extra snow to Ski Apache.
This next satellite image represents the cloud tops with the green colors being the highest coldest cloud tops. Our hope tonight is that this moisture and wind flowing west to east across New Mexico will be forced to rise up the high elevation mountains (orographic uplift) and in doing so cool down sufficiently to become clouds and precipitation in the form of snow.
The next map shows the progression of temperatures at around 10,000 feet of elevation from Sunday through Wednesday. Notice the much colder temperatures late Sunday through Monday before things warm up again Tuesday and Wednesday. We are hoping this cold air mass will help produce fluffier powder for Monday (and Tuesday if new terrain opens up that wasn't skied on Monday).
Enjoy the Monday morning freshies, and Tuesday blue-bird post-storm day. Let's hope for more rope drops! Post a comment and photo below (website version) if you ski to let us know how it is.
Tuesday through Thursday should be dry. I will post again on Monday night or Tuesday morning to debrief the current storm and talk about the forecast for Friday through Sunday which is when our next chance of snow (currently low-end 1 to 3 inches) will be in New Mexico.
¡Que viva la nieve!
Compare the snow reports for all mountains in New Mexico here (reports will update when mountains open for the season): https://opensnow.com/state/nm#reports
Compare the 1-5 day forecast for all mountains in New Mexico is here: http://opensnow.com/state/nm
Tentative December opening dates. Many opening dates are dependent on snowmaking and snowfall, so please refer to area websites and social media for dates and hours of operation.
PAJARITO: TBD (check website or contact resort for updates)
ANGEL FIRE RESORT: December 13
SANDIA PEAK TRAMWAY & SKI AREA: December 21