Friday, February 6, 2015 at 6:57 am


Occasional showers and mild temps this weekend.  Snow levels will be running high, near 8,500 feet at times.  A cooler system will bring a chance for snow late Monday into Tuesday morning.  High pressure and warm, dry weather return for late next week.


The Cascades and Northern California are currently getting hit by the first of two strong systems.  Each with an associated atmospheric river.  They definitely need the precipitation, but snow levels will be running high.  Likely above 8,000 feet around Tahoe.  Unfortunately for us, we get warm temps as well with much less precipitation.  The trajectory of the AR forces most precipitation well to our north and Northern Utah should only see a few scraps this weekend with occasional showers and snow levels around 8,000 feet, perhaps a tad higher at times.

A second system moves in on Monday… this system will actually send a weak cold front into the area that will carry some precipitation and cooler air.  Snow levels should drop down to 6,000 feet or so Monday afternoon and evening with snow showers into early Tuesday morning.  This event looks relatively small with models backing off on QPF further since yesterday.  Latest runs would suggest under 6″ for most of the Wasatch thru Tuesday:


Hopefully we see models trend back upward, but I’m not optimistic.

Late next week, high pressure takes total control and we go back to being mostly sunny and warm.

Long range:

The strong ridge should extend beyond mid-month.  For awhile, models had the ridge retrograding enough to drop a trough into the area.  Then they tried to undercut it.  Now both the GFS and EC ensembles seem to show very little hope of breaking it down through about February 20th….

Here is the CFSv2 precip anomaly forecast for Week 1 and Week 2:


You can see the well-above average precip for the northwest this week before the mega ridge dries out the whole western US next week.

By week three (Feb 20-26), however, the CFS suggests some hope:


It shows above average precip along the west coast, this time extending inland to Utah.  I don’t trust the CFS model much, but right now I’m desperately searching for good signs and it’s one of the few I can find.

The MJO, which has been a non-factor the last few winters, is still just meandering in a weak phase 7 or 8.  Forecasts do call for that to slowly moved toward Phase 1 over the next two weeks, but who knows… Phases 1-4 are the good phases for Utah that often correlate to extended periods of active weather.  We have yet to see the MJO in those phases this winter.

I’m trying to remain optimistic but it is becoming increasingly difficult.  The skiing isn’t bad if you know where to go, especially on the upper part of the mountains.  Many comments and pictures of great turns being made recently.  Still, this is a snow forecasting site… and most of us live for the deep and fresh.  Hopefully the limited storm energy we see over the next few days provides us cooler temps and more moisture than expected.  Hopefully the ridge breaks down before the end of the month and sets us up for a Miracle March.  Hopefully my sanity holds until then… Hopefully… Hopefully…



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  • From this forecast it confirms my worst fears that winter is over. You now have the ridge extending into March. What a complete disaster of a winter. One can only hope now that the spring will disappear fast and we can get into the summer months. Looking forward to some big rainbows up at Strawberry and some nice hikes up in the Unitas! Good riddance winter of 2014-2015, maybe next year.

    • Hmmmm… don’t think I ever said anything about the ridge extending into March. That’s still 23 days away, and to be honest, anything more than 10 days out is totally up in the air. Just have to hope for the best.

    • Let’s hope not. If we don’t have a wet spring we will have a hot (as in fire) summer. At this point screw the skiing, we need precipitation of any kind or we will have empty reservoirs and fires all summer long.

      • brig

        Talk about taking the importance out of my floaty turns.

        No doubt. Desert, drought, and big populations are a death sentence waiting to happen. How sustainable is Vegas long term?

        Future ghost town.

  • Jason

    thanks for keeping us updated it looks like after this weekend im going to have to ski Alta/Snowbird the rest of the season. Since they are higher than basin.

  • JDB

    Sounds like this weekend will be nasty, but if you had to ski, what would be your strategy? I’m on a work trip to SLC but am tacking on the weekend to get a couple days on snow before I head back to the East coast. I’m thinking BCC/LCC, just trying to stay as high as possible.

    • Yes, get high. That would be my plan.

      • thats all we can do. Sadly I am tuning my bike up and getting my climbing gear ready. this is scary and sad…especially after all the optomism of early season and talks of El Nino

  • SMTrekkers

    Thanks for doing the work to maintain this site! We’re flying today from the east coast to ski Powder mountain for a week. Looks like the snow won’t be what we hoped for this year, but so far from my experience even the worst conditions there are better than what we get here at home, so we’ll make the best of it. 6″ of fresh early next week would be nice.

  • Bruce

    Major ski vacation at Snowbird/Alta first week of March. Coming from Boston. I feel like the snow gods are playing cruel jokes on me considering the 3-4 feet we have on the ground here with more coming. Skiing in Vermont has been great this winter, yet I would trade it all for some serious snow in late february/early march in the Wasatch. I check your forecasts daily in hopes of change and it seems as if the glimmer of hope is constantly 3 weeks out and never really pans out. I really have my fingers crossed now seeing as though my trip is 3 weeks out.

  • jim

    Yesterday’s Euro monthly long range doesn’t show any big changes in pattern until early March (5th or 6th) with temps well above average until end of February. A chance for a bit of snow next week and week of Feb. 22 but nothing significant. Was planning on coming out last week of February but will postpone until things look more certain. You just have to believe March will be better.

  • Faceplant

    Hmmm, seems like I’ve seen that week 3 pic before. 🙂 How will Jackson do with the scraps from the AR?

  • Jiří Kadlec

    How long is this heatwave going to last? It feels more like October or April than February right now.

  • ARMike

    I find it interesting how this prolonged winter drought follows a summer of frequent showers. While we were enjoying that moist, tacky singletrack in July/Aug, were we cashing in the following winter? Any correlation?

  • Matt

    humm will we break 300 inches this year in LCC?

  • brig

    Its not climate change. It is just weather and normal ups and downs in snow patterns.

    Droughts are normal.


    -Putting head back in the sand (aka watching Fox News).

  • Aaron Soriero

    Trip from the 16th-22nd. Will it snow? Go!

  • Nick Tirino

    I have watched the jet stream play this nasty game with the right coast for years. High and dry when the left coast was getting slammed,it will swap again and when it does the flood gates will open, and it will be game on. 500 ” season is still possible and March and April can be memorable. Think positive!!!

  • ?

    Coming in Friday. Will the groomers be ok in pc?

    • tuan

      No, I am afraid not. I was just up at PC and its spring like conditions for the majority of their grooms run. Its not even early spring conditions but late spring……..

      I run cold and I mean very cold and today I was already riding with just a hoody. That should tell you everything you need to know.

  • Acid Sloth

    Afternoon at the bird was soft with only a few windblown ice patches. Could be a lot worse. The sner’ll be here soon.

  • Lori

    Patron Saint of snow is Saint Eulalia. We were praying hard before coming up for Christmas and she answered out prayers. Keep praying, keep the faith!!