Coming into Focus

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 7:07 am


Dry and warm through Thursday.  Late Friday through the weekend, a colder storm system will bring snow to the mountains of Utah.  Amounts look to remain light, but it should be enough to freshen things up.


The ridge along the west coast is going strong right now and will keep us warm and dry through Thursday.

Friday-Sunday:  Late in the day on Friday we should see snow showers start to increase from north to south in the Wasatch.  The area will see a few weak waves of moisture in a moist northwest flow through the weekend.  I’d expect periods of snow in the mountains.  This event does not look to be too heavy.  There is still a decent amount of model disagreement, but my best guess would be that amounts in most locations will be 3-6″, notable exceptions could be the Cottonwoods which may benefit from the post-frontal northwest flow more than other areas.  Details will be worked out more in the next two days….

Monday-Thursday (2/23 – 2/26):  We should dry out again as the weekend system exits the area.  While this period should see warmer and drier weather, the ridge should begin to break down during this time frame which will allow what we hope will be stronger systems into the area at the end of February into the first week of March.

Friday (2/27 and beyond):  This is the time when all models currently have a stronger system moving into the Pacific northwest and eventually dropping into the Great Basin and Utah.  Of course this is still 9 or 10 days out, so details are vague.  What is important now is that we are moving out of the long-range ensembles I’ve been using to predict this pattern change for the past week and into the actual 10-day deterministic models.  This means confidence is continuing to grow in the pattern change — we’ve taken that next important step toward this pattern change becoming a reality.

Overall, we’ve got a small shift in the pattern that will allow us to see some snowfall and colder air this weekend.  It likely won’t be deep powder skiing, but it will definitely be a nice refresher.  We are moving closer to the long-prophesized pattern change at the end of the month that could potentially return us to frequent, stronger storms in Utah as we head into early March.  Too early to get excited, but things are slowly coming into focus.


Stay tuned….


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27 thoughts on “Coming into Focus

  1. jim

    too funny…If you had to choose a ski week at Snowbird/Alta would you choose the week of March 8th or 15th based on what you see in the long range today. Not holding you to it…

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Well, base depth shouldn’t be a factor in LCC at that time, so assuming you want to ski fresh snow it’s just a matter of which period will be stormier. Right now it’s impossible to know anything about either of those weeks, but since it looks like we could be stormy for at least the first few days of March, I’d slightly lean toward week of March 8 because you’re closer to what we can see right now might be a stormier pattern, so even if it’s not stormy while you’re here, there will still be leftovers… But really it’s not much more than a toss-up at this point.

      1. jim

        I agree. Assuming the models are more or less on track out to end of fist week of March an excellent base should not be an issue. The Euro long range shows a continuation of stormier weather into the week of the 8th so, that taken with a grain of salt is about as good as you ask for this far out. Thanks for your input.

      2. Mark

        A little clarification is needed here: Base depth shouldn’t be a factor if you are talking about groomed runs. However, base depth is a huge factor if you are venturing off trail.

  2. Phil

    As an east coaster who’s already at work by the time you post, I just sit there hitting refresh for an 30-45 mins until I see a new post. Could not stop laughing at the freaking llama thing, so delightfully werid….

    1. jim

      Funny, I do exactly the same thing…BTW Evan a little late with your post this morning…had to have another coffee while I waited….

  3. Matt

    Miracle March, fingers crossed… I’m from Pittsburgh and try to make a trip to LCC every year to visit a buddy that works at Alta.

    I discovered your blog this year and have become addicted.

    My trip this year is Feb 27 – March 5.

    Keep fighting the good fight,

  4. Ryan

    Leaving today to ski tomorrow through Sunday. Looking forward to maybe a little snow over the weekend! Who’d have thought a month ago that we’d all be excited over the possibility of a few inches?

  5. Nick

    I constantly refresh at work also! Fingers crossed this may materialize into something decent this weekend for LCC!

  6. Corey Smaller

    about time! i was giving up hope…i even did my jinxy snow dance and bought tickets to Hawaii for the weekend next weekend. That seemed to do the trick as that damn eye of mordor high pressure ridge is FINALLY going away. get some!

  7. steve

    I am sitting here in CT, and also await the daily report! What bothers me is that the LLama looks like an old girlfriend that I used to ski with in Alta? Not much to look at but a great skier!!!
    You should see the way she handles Eagles Nest!

  8. Anthony

    I’m heading out 26th from the UK. 14 Days skiing I reckon were coming out just at the right time. Question for the locals in Canyons / PC who is the best person to contact for some resort guiding to those hidden gems and local beer?

    1. Martin

      Anthony – If you want local beer with less tourists, then you need to escape PC and head into the Salt Lake, Heber or Utah valleys. If you just want local beers, then Squatters or Red Rock breweries have pubs up in PC.
      The BeerHive in downtown Salt Lake is a good spot for a variety of beers, plus some great restaurants downtown.
      I like a nice cold beer at the Cliff House Gastro Pub in Draper, but that’s because they sell Tetley’s Bitter and Boddingtons…!! I am English (from Yorkshire) and it’s nice to sometimes get a taste of home (have lived here in Utah for 2 years).

      As it seems Evan knows the snow and skis the local area very frequently – he may be best to advise on a local guide you can connect with. I’ll ask around at work and see if anyone has suggestions though.

      Enjoy Utah and the Wasatch.

    2. Jared

      Uinta Brewing puts out quality beer. Just make sure you shop at liquor stores. The grocery stores don’t sell full strength beer (Max 4%). If you feel like a day of snowmobiling, the boys at Red Pine Adventures (adjacent to the Canyons) do it right. Ask for Dave or Paul.

  9. Michael T.

    Hi Anthony, keeping my fingers crossed for your trip to the skiing holy land. Let me know if u need a little help? I’m a PC local and ski instructor who specializes in avoiding crowds and bad decisions. Don’t let all the doom and gloom spook you, UT is still the real deal when it comes to big mtn skiing! We’re spoiled with the gold standard in snow, just need to know where to go. See you all out here soon! Best…

  10. Christopher

    Heading into PC for 2/22-2/28, have been nervous about the conditions. Bringing my wife out to Utah for the first time and hoping that conditions are not too terrible and icy. Hoping to find some nice runs at both PC and the Canyons. Any suggestions of places to hit are welcome! Thanks for all the weather updates I have been following you for years.

  11. Sam

    We stayed in PC and boarded all over.

    Canyons was OK started getting thin in some areas. We also skied LCC and BCC, which i recommend the short drive.

    Canyons was fun, but it was warm and beaten up. We also board there when there is new snow, and one day it rained on us at the base. resort was still fun, but the rain was super disappointing…. there was fun to be had here, but LCC and BCC was much better.

    We talked with a few different Skiers who hit up PCMR, and its supposedly in better shape than the Canyons, but to get really fun stuff there, you need to work a little harder for it.

    We only boarded Pc 1 day in the week, easy decision to head to LCC or BCC. LCC and BCC fared much much better. Evan has been spot on, get higher for better conditions.

    Brighton got some fresh while we were there and boarded really nice. Someone would have to tell you the base was smaller than normal, couldn’t really tell. Was a lot of fun, never really had any issues.

    Solitude, wasn’t very thin at all. We zoomed the grooms there and had a really good time. place lived up to its name for sure, we barely saw anyone there, it was like having a resort to ourselves.

    Snowbird, definitely the best conditions we found all week. Mineral basin was fun, but it was pretty packed when we were there (By Utah Standards). everything from Creekside was a ton of fun and in great shape (everything you can get too from Gadzoom). Wasn’t dust on crust, was nice and soft. Although. we were really surprised that after about 2 each day we hit up the bird, it started getting really full of kids in Mountain School. Lots of little ones all over learning in the afternoon.

    If nothing changes, I would hit Bird, Brighton and Solitude over anything in PC all day long. Stop in at the lift house for a discount ticket, worth the 45 min or so drive.

  12. Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

    Maybe I’ve been burned too many times, but as I look at the most recent model runs, I don’t see anything that suggests any significant or multi-day storms. Rather, it appears that Utah might get 3-6 inches here and there over the next 2-3 weeks, and Tahoe is looking at next to nothing. I hope I’m reading the maps wrong, but it could very well be mid-March before we see the next significant storm.

  13. Ryan

    Leaving for my old home of Salt Lake Friday for my much anticipated 2 week trip. Should I skip the cottonwoods and hit Aspen on Saturday and Sunday? I’ve loved your site for years! Your pow predictions are greatly appreciated.

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