Lookin’ for our Skittles

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 7:45 am


Mountain snow showers this weekend in Utah with much colder air in place.  A bit of a break early next week.  Full-scale pattern change is on by the end of next week.  Good news!


One last day of warmth and quiet weather in Utah.  Tomorrow a system will enter the region from the north bringing cooler air and a chance for snow to much of the area.  This system has an over-land trajectory coming down from Yukon in Canada so moisture is severely lacking for us.  However, we should see a period of snowfall late on Friday then scattered snow showers through the weekend in the mountains of Northern Utah.  It’s nothing significant, but it sure is nice to see this image again in the forecast:


As for accumulations, I wouldn’t set your expectation high for this weekend.  3-6″ is about the max I would expect, and even that is spread out over 48 hours or more, so it’s not going to feel too deep at any given time.  However, these types of storms often can develop more persistent banding of showers over localized areas that can lead to higher totals.  So while I wouldn’t expect much, I’d check radar and webcams regularly this weekend in case an area gets surprised.  That’s my plan anyway…

The ridge will briefly push back over the area early next week before it starts to collapse and retrograde west into the central Pacific.  This will bring the end-of-month pattern change we’ve been talking about for so long.  Right now models generally bring precip back into the area around Thursday or Friday of next week, however details are very vague right now as we are still over a week out and models are dealing with major changes in the synoptic patterns at the same time — so confidence is low in the details but high in the fact that the pattern is changing.

All models continue to have a deep trough over the western CONUS (continental U.S.)  during the last couple days of February and into early March.  Every day I have to put in disclaimers that a pattern change does not guarantee large storms immediately.  However, it does open the door for such storms. I use the following analogy….  We want the Wasatch to go into full #BeastMode, right?  In order to get into beast mode, we need to power up with a pack of Skittles a la Marshawn Lynch.  For the past 7 weeks, the vending machine has been empty.  No matter what buttons got pushed, there was no way for us to get our Skittles and go full beast mode.  However, a pattern change like this is like the vending machine getting re-stocked, now we have a whole assortment of options —  we just hope that when we push the button, Skittles come out.


I’m hopeful we’ll get more significant snowfall with this pattern change.  But until the storms get within a week and are in all models, I would refrain from getting too excited.

We are all hoping for a Miracle March, the prerequisite is a pattern change and we are getting that, now we juts hope that we can get the ingredients right from then on.  Keep the faith!


P.S. If you’re international and/or don’t follow the NFL and the Marshawn Lynch Skittles analogy doesn’t make sense to you.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t really make sense to me either…

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37 thoughts on “Lookin’ for our Skittles

  1. mikebike

    I have been patiently reading you every day since mid January … and I know you do not control the weather …..but you have a habit of sounding like the girl in “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights…. everything is heating up and then — “Stop right there…before you go any further” —–another delay ….another 10 days maybe…. I will soon have been skiing here for 6 weeks and if you added it all up i doubt you would get up to ankle deep.

    Very disappointing so far …. and March 7th I return to Florida. Which this AM is as cold as Utah.

    So enough foreplay UTAH …. lets consummate this thing SOON 🙂

    by the way excellent blog… I know you want it too… just had to vent

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Yeah, you just happened to be here for what could possibly be the driest mid-winter 6 weeks we’ve ever had. Bad luck! Trust me, it hasn’t been fun to forecast and search the depths of every model run to find even the slightest bit of good news. But, now we finally have good news! You can understand with our recent run of luck if I’m trying to temper expectations until we are closer to the event.

  2. mikebike

    You Rock… best weather site I have found for the mountains…. I like your rational style … and the humor also helps. Which is why I know you would not bristle at the Meat loaf analogy. I have 16 days left … so my fingers are crossed….
    The good news is I have been coming out for 9 years and have had “the goods” many times. And Sunday the trees skiing was still passable and fun here at PowMow.
    Thanks so much for all you do…. I do a bicycle touring blog and I know how much work & discipline it is to report daily. – Mike

    1. Roy

      I was at PowMow on Sunday, Feb. 15th. Where did you find the decent tree skiing? I found a lot of set up snow that was semi icy or crusty, even in Cobabe Cyn. The worst day of skiing on my 6 days of skiing on the road trip, and the only time PowMow has ever disapointed me. Plus, I lost my camera…

  3. ryan

    Agree with mikebike! I’m a week out from my trip and I get pumped to read the morning reports. Keep up the great work

  4. Cold, Snowy Canadian

    A buddy and I do a yearly ski trip and we decided on Utah this year…I’m from Toronto (Canada) and my buddy is from Calgary (Canada).

    We have been debating on cancelling our trip this year – we haven’t booked anything yet – because of how poor the conditions seem to be out west.

    We were thinking of going to Utah for March 10th – March 16th – I’ve been reading your blog most days for the past three months. Is it worth the risk to book the trip or do you think it’ll continue to remain mild? I know that you mentioned some moisture will be coming back into the area as the ridge moves away, but will that also bring in the colder air?

    How’s the base of the resorts around SLC? I just don’t want to get there and find out only the top half of the mountains are skiable.

    Thanks so much for all you do.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      The Cottonwood Canyon resorts near SLC are just fine in terms of base. You’ll have no problem skiing from top to bottom, and with cold air and snow likely on the way, things are going to get better and better by the time you come here. I think you may just be timing your trip perfectly! Enjoy!

    2. Rob D

      We are here now, arrived last Sunday, skied deer valley sun to tues, was not bad at all. Then went to Alta, wow what a difference. Warm temps, but awesome conditions, actually looked like a winter resort with all the snow. Deer valley had plenty of snow on the runs, but under the trees were brown. If anyone is coming down anytime soon and deer valley and park city are just ok, I would highly recommend checking out Alta. Personally I even liked the mountain better than deer valley and the conditions are ten times better. From what a few locals have told me if it snows 3 inches in Deer valley, it will snow 6 inches in Alta. with the current weather conditions, Alta is your best, IMO.

  5. Jay arbor

    Quick question,when you say 3-6 in is that an average for all the resorts? Do you think any one area could get more than others?

  6. Cam S.

    Just a heads up–Beaver Mountain is 100% open still. We’re still looking pretty darn good, given the winter’s pattern.

  7. Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

    How will Brian Head fare this weekend? It looks like they might actually pick up significant snow on Sunday night/Monday. Just wishful thinking?

  8. Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

    I’m thinking of making the drive from California. It’s a very long drive for one day of skiing, desperate times . . . I’m told that Eagle Point is essentially closed–only open Sat. and Sunday and only running 2 lifts?

      1. Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

        Sounds good. Sounds like I need to start planning for a trek to Brian Head on Sunday. Thanks for all your good work (and good humor).

  9. chance

    I look forward to this blog EVERYDAY!! Keep up the great work that you do. I noticed the snow melting off the face of Mt. Timpanogus yesterday. I have lived in Utah my entire life (30 years) and I’m going to make my own prediction. I study weather and love the crazy stuff. I storm chase also. So here it is… I have NEVER seen a winter like this. Mark my words… Winter will come!! March, April are going to be epic skiing!! The snow machine is going to crank on and plaster the mountains!! It may be too late for the valleys but heads up!! You are going to need a snowmobile in the mountains and a boat in the valleys!!

  10. Anthony

    Question – Canyons / PC / Deer Valley what’s the conditions of the groomers heading out next week for two week so obviously keeping the faith for the storms to roll in. Everyday for the past two weeks I hit the refresh button waiting on your blog I love it.

  11. Steve

    The CPC’s 6-14 day graphics show higher than normal precip for much of the west, including utah. Haven’t seen that in a while.

  12. Bruce

    Big family ski vacation at the bird/alta for 1st-7th of March. I have been in total panic mode for over a month now. Religiously following this blog, hoping and praying for a change. I can only hope that my family and I will get the first real powder Utah has seen in over a month.

    Coming from the Boston suburbs it feels as if Mother Nature has been playing an evil trick on me. We have 6 feet of powdery snow on the ground with roofs collapsing and ice dams all around us.

    1. Rob D

      No worries, skied alta today, just got back, conditions were great, no fresh snow, but plenty of snow, runs were smooth and did not run into any ice, way better than deer valley. I would not worry.

      1. Kevin

        As bad as this winter has been… we skied Snowbasin for five days at the end of January and had a great time. As for this blog…. it’s the best!

  13. Whistler Snow Dance

    I know you are obviously focused on Utah, but any chance this new weather pattern brings some snow to Whistler? The blog post you made a couple days ago with the prediction models seemed like the same shift would affect coastal BC as well. Fingers crossed for Utah and WB!

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