Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 5:58 am


Snow showers will taper off from south to north in the Wasatch today as moisture retreats into Idaho/Wyoming.  High pressure will make for VERY warm conditions on Thursday and Friday.  A chance for high elevation snow showers returns this weekend into early next week.


An additional 2-4″ fell at most resorts overnight with snow showers continuing as of 5:15AM.  Totals so far since Sunday evening:

Beaver Mountain: 8″
Powder Mountain: 6″
Snowbasin: 5″
Cottonwoods resorts: 6-8″
PC resorts: 3-7″

Snow showers will be winding down this morning with areas south of I-84 clearing out sooner than those up near the Idaho border.  Several more inches are expected, primarily at far northern mountains. This northward retreat of moisture is in response to a rapidly expanding ridge of high pressure that will take control for Thursday and Friday.  Very warm conditions are likely Thursday and Friday with near record high temperatures possible.

On Saturday, moisture starts to increase across the region as a system moves into the PNW and an atmospheric river takes aim at Northern California.  The high pressure will be temporarily suppressed, but should do enough to shunt most energy to our north.  Northern Utah should see at least scattered showers this weekend with snow levels fairly high (7,000 feet or higher).

Late Monday into Tuesday, a stronger and colder storm should move into the area.  This system does not look significant, but at least it will drop snow levels and we could get moderate accumulations at local resorts.

Overall, we’ll have several periods of unsettled conditions over the next 7 days, however none of these systems look to be particularly good for providing deep, fluffy powder.  At least there’s opportunity for surprise.

Long range:

Still looks like late next week we go under the influence of STRONG high pressure.  We should get back to Spring-like conditions and no chance for precipitation from about February 11th thru at least February 16th.  I mentioned this yesterday and it’s still true — it does look like we could undergo more large scale pattern changes during the second half of February and that could mean a more Winter-like pattern returns to the Wasatch.  This is still way out in “fantasy land”, but it’s something to watch over the next two weeks.


*These numbers were taken yesterday and do not include the few inches of snow that fell overnight.

There’s been a lot of talk about where we stand in comparison to the previous 3 seasons, which have all been sub-par by most people’s standards.  Here is a look at where we stand now in relation to the previous three years:


At Snowbird (above), this season (dark blue line) we saw a good second half of December that shot us up to 130% of the median.  You can see us basically flatlining, with the exception of that mid-January storm, ever since the New Year.  By percentage, Snowbird is still at 91% of the median and just recently fell into second place.  So we’re still doing better than 2012 and 2014.



Just to the northeast of Snowbird, at Brighton, we are similarly positioned in respect to the previous three years.  Even with 2013 and ahead of 2012 and 2014.  However, Brighton is at 79% of the median.

Thaynes Canyon (Park City Mountain Resort):


Not surprisingly, Park City is similar to its neighbors from the Cottonwoods.  It is in second place behind 2013 but ahead of 2012 and 2014 and is also at 79% of the median snowpack.

Ben Lomond Peak:


Ben Lomond Peak near Powder Mountain shows a different story.  It’s at only 60% of the median and is currently even with 2014 and 2013 for the worst year, and significantly behind 2012.  You can see it did well during February last year, so I’d expect this to lag behind with 2013 for the next couple weeks at least.

Tony Grove Lake:


Farther north still at Tony Grove Lake near Logan…  We are actually ahead of the previous three years so far.  However, if you remember, they got absolutely hammered in an AR event last February, so you can see that they will likely fall behind 2014 over the next two weeks.  Still, they sit at 106% of the median and are one of the few sites in the state that can say they are above 100%.

It should come as no surprise that our quiet last 5 weeks of weather and warm temps have had a toll on what was once a promising early season snowpack.  Still most of these sites don’t top out until the middle of April, so there’s over two months for us to get back on track.  Fingers crossed!


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  • Sam

    Freshing up with cream is certainly what is needed!

    We Land Saturday, base camp is Park City, but we’ll chase the conditions. Where is the best resort to be on Sunday?

    Sounds like farther North you go the better? PowMow? Is Powder country thin? Even open?

    Snowbasin? Or better to head to LCC/BCC (Brighton?)?

    We’ll probably Save Canyons, PCMR for when the snow dries up Wednesday for zooming the groom.

    If Sunday or Monday was the only day you boarded all year, where would you go? (Don’t say Jackson Hole, the 4 hour drive looks tempting)

    • Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are thinner on coverage right now, don’t think Powder Country is open yet. Ben Lomond which is in that area is at 60% of median snowpack, whereas LCC and BCC are 79-91% of median. If fresh snow is your goal, I’d say getting to the high elevations of the Cottonwoods is your best bet. Rip groomers at PC on the days it isn’t snowing.

      • Jon

        Powder country is open… been pretty good in there, actually.

  • Darren

    I suppose these graphs represent settled snow depth over time? Are they mid-mountain or summit measurements? I find it surprising that with dry conditions and record persistent warm temperatures that the depths have not dropped due to melting. Can you please explain this?
    Thanks for your excellent reporting!!
    Fingers crossed for a huge second half of “winter”.

    • It is a measure of water content in the snowpack, so the snow may settle to a lower depth, but still contains the same water content. Locations vary, but are generally mid-mountain or above. This time of year, with low snow angles, even warm temps don’t melt much snow. The snow undergoes freeze/thaw cycles but doesn’t lose much water. South facing slopes are an exception, where sun exposure is much higher.

  • Darren

    Very different from the east coast. A few weeks of dry, 50 degree temps and you are skiing on grass.
    Thanks for the input!

  • Laura

    Thanks for the detailed forecast and positive thoughts. We are doing snow and rain dances here in CA where things are getting desperate. Hopefully the atmospheric river event we have coming in this weekend will blast the ridge out of here?! Quick question: planning on driving i80 from the Bay Area to PC this weekend. So far targeting this coming Sunday as the travel day. Any reason I should rethink that?

    • You should be good. Maybe some showers but i think it will be warm enough that roads would be wet rather than snowy.

  • bear

    Powder country is open

  • brig

    Warm Temps strong ridge, not fluffy. Uggh replay.

    Atmospheric river sounds good, guess it will not be stong enough to blast the high and roll to Nebraska.

    Pow Mow crusty/ icy, corny, slushee in Pow Country?

  • jim

    anyone look at 12z gfs yet? Still shows ridge digging in around 11th through the 17th all the way up to northern BC but then has a 964 low bust through ridge around the 18th leading to some decent snow totals for the Wasatch.The 12z GEM shows little ridging next week and a storm on the 11th and 14th…12z Euro will be out soon.

    • brig

      I’d like to put in an order…

      12z GEM shows little ridging next week and a storm on the 11th and 14th…

  • jim

    Yes we should be able to choose which deterministic model we want…weather should be more interactive I agree

  • Dick B

    Snowbird was skiing like a champ today! Get you some 🙂

  • Mark

    The 3″ at Solitude skied much deeper but wow, it was HOT when I left at 11:30. The parking lot is a lake and I can’t help but think the warm temps of the next two days are going to have a significant impact on the lower mountain.

  • Kristen

    This morning at PCMR was great (up top off of Bonanza). My old, feeble legs did great skiing about 3″ of fresh on Parley’s Park. Conditions at the bottom of Homerun were crap.

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