Feels Like Winter Again

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:41 am


Fresh cold smoke is out there!  A cool northwest flow with embedded disturbances will keep clouds and the threat of a few additional snow showers with us through Saturday.  High pressure builds for Sunday-Wednesday of next week with dry weather.  A return to storms looks likely late next week.


Yesterday went almost perfectly according to plan.  Front blitzed through the area during late morning – early afternoon, bringing a couple hours of heavy snow.  After that, we relied on orographic lift and instability in the northwest flow to bring us additional snowfall.  It took a while to get going, but with the help of a little lake enhancement, we got a few extra inches overnight.

24-hour totals stand as follows.  The Northern Wasatch came up short with the front racing through and very little help from orographics in the afternoon/evening.  Generally 1-3″ fell up there.  For the PC ridgeline, resorts are highly variable.  The Canyons reporting 5″.  Deer Valley 4″.  But PCMR, in between them geographically, is at 10″…. Looking at automated sensors, this might not be out of the question, as they could have been under a bit of a lake band last night.  For the Cottonwoods, reports are anywhere from 7-12″… with the 12″ reported by Solitude.  When you break down the numbers, the original forecast of 4-8″ with up to 12″ in the Cottonwoods looks like it was pretty close to reality.

I was able to ski yesterday afternoon and evening at Brighton.  The snow was excellent skiing.  It was very cold and very windy, so exposed areas had plenty of snow crust. But if you stayed in the trees, a lot of that wind-blown snow was being deposited in places that made it feel much deeper.  Blower powder!  Similar reports of great ski days came in from all over yesterday, so today should be awesome as well if you’re going up.   Beware that the cold northerly winds will continue through the day, so bundle up!

Cool northwest flow continues through Saturday.  There are a couple weak disturbances — one tonight and another on Saturday — that could flare up a few snow showers in the high terrain.  Accumulations, however, should be light.

High pressure still expected to build in on Sunday through early next week with warming temperatures.

Long range:

Because it’s still 7+ days away, it’s still in the “long range” but there is a pattern change taking place late next week.  Right now global models are still in good agreement.  They show an initial system moving in on Thursday of next week.  The GFS and GEM are fairly weak with this system while the EC is much stronger.  I think the GFS and GEM might be right, unfortunately.  Usually ‘ridge busting’ systems lose a lot of energy and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen.  All models then follow up the initial system with a second, stronger system for next Saturday, March 1.  Not going to trouble myself or you with any details this far out, but we are monitoring the long range models.  These systems have lots of subtropical moisture so they could be significant, however snow levels may be higher again…  Too early to know for sure, but that is often the case with these type of storms.

Stay tuned…


P.S.  I will be out of town, visiting my retired parents in Arizona this weekend  (I know, how cliche).  So the posts may be later in the day than normal through Monday.  Luckily, we don’t look to have anything too exciting in the forecast through then so it shouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice.  Just an FYI….

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  • star

    canyons and PC snow reports are very misleading… they have their stakes at 10,000 ft which is BS at the bottom they have a whole 2″ just like i said dust on CRUST!

    • I didn’t feel too much crust at Brighton yesterday. It was good quality snow. A lot of fun!

    • Supah Man

      Dude, star, you clearly weren’t shredding yesterday. Far from dust on crust. It was sa-weet with free refills in the afternoon. The wind and snow kept everything super fresh! And I know where both Canyons and PCMR take their measurement, at mid-mountain, around 8,500′ feet, which is standard. Canyons doesn’t even go to 10K feet. and top of Jupiter at PC goes just barely above 10K feet.

      You seem uninformed.

      • star

        look on ski utah dude pc measures at 10,000 and canyons at 9990 how much closer to 10k do you want

        • Star is right, they do measure at the top of the mtn at PC and Canyons. While it was far from the best day I’ve ever had, yesterday was pretty dang fun. I think conditions varied greatly from one resort to another.

      • star

        you must not have been in utah long if that’s sweet…40-60 mph wind w 6″ on old snow

  • Snap Chatman

    Agreed. Yesterday was fun. Empty mountain… wish I could go today.

  • Geoff

    Was hoping to hit Snowbasin today, but only 1″ on top of icy crust probably means that it’s a bust. I’ve been going to the Cottonwoods quite a bit lately, so as good as that looks right now I might try the PC area. Deer Valley would be nice but from memory it has a lot of exposed areas. Lots of icy spots despite 4″ of new snow? So maybe PCMR is the one?

    • If PC’s report is indeed accurate, it could be good. Solitude sounds fun as well!

  • Caroline Graham

    Evan..pardon my ignorance, but are DV, PC and Canyons considered Northern Wasatch, or Central Wasatch? I was thinking perhaps that Snowbasin and Powder Mountain were Northern? Not sure.

  • Kaykoh

    Park City is looking more like 6 inches. The wind was blowin like a mother last night, and it was dificult to get an accurate reading. But the drifts/trees are soft and deep.

  • AZ

    Enjoy your time here in AZ. If your coming to Phoenix we turned the heat on for you already..

  • Stevek

    Worst conditions of the season at snowbasin yesterday am. Almost the entire mountain set like plaster after the warm weekend ( tops out closer to 9000) snowed a little, but its gonna need a full reset

  • Steve

    Evan, any thoughts on CPC’s March forecast that came out today? Northern Utah appears to be in the sweet spot.

  • Hey Steve,

    Haven’t seen it. But I’ll take your word for it. As you know, I’m not a huge fan of the long range CPC forecasts. But, I am a big believer in the MJO, especially in ENSO neutral years. MJO is finally forecasted to move into favorable phases in March. However, the MJO has been forecasted to do this before and then just got stuck in phases 6/7. I’m optimistic by nature, so I’m hoping for the best. We’ll see I suppose!

  • Tram

    Pcmr was nice today. Jupiter had 12″ by the time the lifts got turning. That said some areas where wind swept. The trees, Scott’s ad first bowl skied really well. I bet the peak would be great this afternoon when they open it.
    Down lower there was less snow around 8″ at summit house. Snow was wind affected there too. On the crescent face maybe 5″ but dense and supportable. Hit a hard bottom there on some turns and headed back to work.

  • Geoff

    At Park City. As my ex girlfriend would say : “no way is that 10 inches”. I haven’t hit the peaks yet, but most runs so far are hard underneath with a bit of powder on top. Some nice stashes in the trees, however.

  • Mike Mc

    don’t ski at Solitude, it sucks there… always… =)

    • Mark

      Yeah, it was really, really crappy at Solitude this morning. However, I heard that Little Cottonwood was going off – I’d recommend checking that action out. 🙂

      • Oh you jokesters! Bring the snow for first week of March!!

  • As WSF called in its previous post Last Chair yesterday and 1st chair today were straight 1889 Blanc de Blanc Champagney goodness. The turbulent winds and intense blizzard during the day yesterday kept the snow churned up and fresh making it awesome at Snowbird! This morning at the Bird was even better with an additional 4″ of snow from yesterday. If you’re skiing up at PC you’re already doing something wrong so it doesnt really matter where there measuring stick is 🙂

  • pen fifteen club co founder

    The bird was excellent this AM with knee deep blower in all the leeward aspects. One of the best days so far this season when you put 8″ right side up powder on top of a deep base with everything open!