This article was originally posted on Opensnow.com by PowderChaser Steve.
3 storm systems move ashore this week with 2 decent waves of 5-10 inches for the Sierra (10-20 storm totals). Those systems tease the Rockies mid-week and start cranking out decent totals Friday/Saturday. The Cascades will be rewarded late on Turkey Day continuing into Friday. CA, ID, WY, OR, WA, NV, UT, CO are your best bets this week. MT is a solid wildcard in the southern regions (Big Sky).
Short Term Forecast
The heaviest snow may occur in the Sierra just in time for your Turkey dinner. You can snowshoe, CC Ski or if your living dangerously attempt to Skin Thursday morning. Another system will impact the Sierra Friday/Saturday. Expect 5-10 inches above 7,000 feet from storm #1 and another 5-10 inches for Friday/Saturday. This may be a better time to cautiously skin if you must (Upper elevations could be deep). Amounts at the summits will be higher. Caveat: Model confidence is 50% on amounts being 3-5 days out. Amounts are likely to change as we get into the 2-3 day range. Model confidence on the welcome pattern change is high. An excess of 2 feet is likely in the 7 day forecast above 9,000 feet. Snow levels will be rising and lowering several times this week with bases picking up significantly lower amounts.
Below: total snowfall for the Sierra through Sunday morning. Both northern and southern resorts of the Sierra will do well. Mammoth may benefit from higher elevation and significant summit totals.
The Cascades will see a brush of storm #1 as it drops south into California Wednesday/Thursday. Light snow in the Cascades will turn heavy by Thursday night and Friday morning. Cold air will lower snow to pass levels. 12 Plus inches are likely for Crystal, Stevens, Alpental, and Baker. Baker may be favored initially with SW flow initially before winds switch to west (Stevens or Crystal score higher amounts late week). If resorts were open, the chase would be Baker late Thursday or early Friday followed by resorts further south Friday PM and Saturday. Oregon will nab deep freshies from this storm Thursday and Friday. Bachelor and Hood will score!
The Rockies earn deep rewards favoring Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. Montana is a wildcard with lighter amounts at Big Sky (Freshening). In northern Idaho, Schweitzer may benefit with heavier snow late this week. The bulk of moisture sets up over central Idaho favoring resorts towards Brundage and even Sun Valley scores moderate or deep snow late this week. SW winds will pump moisture into the Sawtooth’s late this week! Its about time!
The Wasatch and Tetons will score deep rewards from Thursday to Saturday. moderate snowfall will occur Turkey day followed by a short break. Storm #2 enters that region early Friday morning and continues through Saturday. Snowfall may exceed 2 feet in the Tetons and Wasatch (Thursday-Sunday). You may consider a chase to Targhee for late Thursday or Friday, followed by the opening of JHMR on Saturday. Its likely that Saturday morning offers the deepest amounts. Alta opens November 23rd. Brighton is currently open in Utah.
Montana will score moisture pushing north under SW flow. Big Sky may sneak in a moderate dump especially Saturday morning (5-10).
Below: Total snowfall through early Saturday morning for the northern Rockies.
Below: Total snowfall for the Wasatch through Saturday morning. Wide area of deep snow for Utah!
Colorado offers a bit of a mystery primarily being nearly 5-7 days out on the model forecasts. it is likely that the northern and central mountains pick up moderate or heavy leftovers for the weekend. Some light snow will be falling late Thanksgiving Day with a break on Friday (Some freshening for 1st chair Friday). Heavier snow will arrive for Saturday/Sunday. The storm will be weakening somewhat as it drags over the Rockies. Steamboat, Aspen, Beaver Creek or resorts on the far western side of the Divide are my early picks. The GFS is much less bullish than the Euro models. The Euro is showing as much as 10-16 inches at many resorts by late Saturday including the northern San Juans (Telluride). The GFS Is less bullish. Regardless, this system will likely bring moderate or heavy snow to a broad area of Colorado favoring resorts west of the Divide. Early guesses may include Steamboat, Vail, Aspen, Crested Butte, Silverton, Telluride, Beaver Creek, and perhaps Breck to score the deepest totals (Pure speculation at this point). I will update this in my next post.
Technically the above forecast dips into the extended timeframe. The following week will likely see a relatively active pattern albeit lighter amounts. We may see a period of high pressure early in week #2 with a return to storminess mid to late week for the west.