- Saturday high pressure builds in with some sun and clouds. Highs in the 40's with ridgetop winds to 40 mph. - The next storm moves in Sunday into Sunday night. Snow levels starting around 7,000 feet during the day Sunday and then falling well below lake level with the cold front Sunday evening. 4-10 inches possible at lake level Sunday night, and a total of 1-2 feet possible on the mountains above 7k by Monday morning. Strong winds Sunday of 70+ mph could affect lift operations. - We are expecting a dry pattern to build in starting Monday the 21st through the last week of January. It starts cold Monday with highs in the 20's on the mountains and 30's at lake level. Then 30's for Tuesday and 40's Wednesday through the end of the week. - Watching the 30th of January - 1st of February as a range of when the storms could return.
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Short Term Forecast
Today starts the 3rd holiday weekend of the ski season, MLK weekend. It is starting out cloudy today (Saturday) but we should see some sun as high pressure builds in briefly.
Temperatures are already into the 30's from lake level into the higher elevations. We are expecting highs into the 40's today for all elevations. That plus the light drizzle yesterday will give us soft groomers and thick wet snow off trail. The upper mountain wind gusts have dropped to 40 mph this and should stay there most of the day. So light winds, a little sun, and mild temps for Saturday.
There is plenty of snow on the mountains as we have seen 4-11 feet of snowfall over the last two weeks. Here are updated stats showing us at average for total precipitation YTD, and near to slightly above average for snowfall and snowpack.
Clouds and winds will increase for Saturday night as the next storm approaches. The precip from the next storm is expected to push in Sunday morning, between 4-9 a.m. from NW to SE across the Tahoe basin.
We are expecting rain below 7,000 feet to lake level during the day on Sunday. Some forecast models have snow levels a bit higher near 7,500 feet. So we will be watching that. Not only will it be raining on the lower mountains, but on the upper mountains, we will have strong wind gusts of 70+ mph up to 100+ mph on the ridges. That should close a lot of the upper mountain lifts only allowing access to the lower mountains where it is raining or wet snow falling. So not a great day for skiing.
The cold front moves through during the evening with a 2nd round of heavy precipitation pushing in. Snow levels will drop all the way to 4,000 feet Sunday night. We should see rain change to snow at lake level between 4-7 PM. Then snow showers should fire up over the are behind the front Sunday night, before tapering off by Monday morning.
Total precipitation amounts continue to increase on the forecast models as we get closer. The latest total model average is at 1.9 inches of total precipitation west of the lake near the Sierra crest, with good spillover to the east side of the lake.
The GFS/Euro model average used in the snowfall forecast is 2.1 inches. So I would still lean towards the lower end of the updated snowfall forecast.
Snow ratios are low on Sunday but should increase to 12-15:1 on the mountains Sunday night bringing a lighter and more powdery snowfall.
For Monday we should clear out and see some sun. But it will be cold with highs only in the 20's on the mountains and low 30's for lake level. Winds could still be gusting to 50 mph on the mountain tops.
Gusty winds could continue into Tuesday as temperatures warm slightly into the 30's.
High pressure continues to build in off the West Coast as we head into about a 10-day dry period. Temperatures should warm into the 40's later next week. It looks like high pressure should keep storms from pushing into the West Coast at least through the 29th.
There continue to be signs on the long-range model runs that the pattern could shift going into the 1st week of February, with high pressure near the West Coast shifting towards Alaska or the Aleutians. That would allow storms to be able to push into West Coast.
Some model runs show the first storm pushing in as early as the 30th, but right now I'm watching the 30th-1st as a range of when we could possibly start to see storms return. The CFSv2 shows a wetter period for CA from the 31st into the 1st week of February.
We will have plenty of time to watch the long-range pattern once we get past the Sunday storm.
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