November Powder Skiing on the Doorstep

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 6:08 am


A potent storm system will bring widespread snowfall to Northern Utah this weekend.  Starting Saturday afternoon, we’ll see periods of snow through Monday with total accumulations of 1-2 feet.  Higher totals possible in the Cottonwoods.


Models continue to be remarkably consistent with the evolution of this storm system.  This gives us high confidence as forecasters.  Let’s break down the details…

Saturday-Saturday night we will see light mountain snow showers start to develop in the morning. By afternoon, the front will approach the area and the snow showers will become more widespread and heavier.  Snow levels will start out above 6,000 feet but should lower quickly during the evening to near valley floors.  Saturday night we should see snow for at least the first half of the night with it starting to taper off near sunrise.  Total accumulations in the high Wasatch should be in the 6-12″ range by Sunday morning.  Sunday will be a good powder day to get out there early.

Sunday is a bit of a break day.  A moist northwest flow should keep at least occasional snow going in areas like the Cottonwoods where a few inches could be possible throughout the day.

Sunday night – Monday another wave moves through.  Snow should develop again throughout the mountains and even the valleys.  Additional accumulations at ski resorts by mid-day Monday should be in the 6-12″ range.

Monday night – Tuesday we should start to clear out although there are some models that move another impulse through.  I’d expect at least some additional orographic showers to continue in the Cottonwoods, but most locations should be mostly done with the event.

All told, when you add up the full event, 1-2 feet looks likely at Wasatch ski resorts with up to 3 feet possible in the Cottonwoods if all goes according to plan.  The one wildcard not discussed is the Great Salt Lake.  Almost impossible to forecast lake-effect.  I think we’ll at least get a bit of enhancement from the lake, but I don’t know if we’ll get a full lake effect band.  If we do, however, totals could be even higher downwind.

Speaking of wind, this storm involves a strong jet overhead. Whenever that’s the case, you can expect it to be breezy.  This doesn’t look like a hurricane, but the winds could be gusty on the ridge tops.  Something to consider, especially if you’re in the backcountry.

Long range:

Yesterday models differed on whether or not we’d get a storm in here for Turkey Day.  Unfortunately the Euro has gone the way of the GFS and now shows us dry Wednesday into the following weekend.   All models show a trough in the Eastern Pacific during the last weekend of November, but each model differs on how quickly it moves that storm into the western U.S.   Too far out to really speculate, but I’d say storms could return during the first week of December.


PS.  Snowbird, Alta, Solitude open today with PCMR scheduled for tomorrow.  Go get some powder this weekend!

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  • Michael

    Thanks you for the always reliable forecasts.

    In terms of snowpack, what would snow totals in the 1-3 feet range do for this year’s comparison to average depth to date from the historical record?