Flexibility is Key

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 7:02 am


An active and complicated weather pattern will bring the area cold air and chances for snow for the next week.  Very difficult to pinpoint best periods of snow, but the entire state should see mountain snow at times.


I’ve already spent well over an hour this morning pouring over model data and reading forecast discussions from around the west trying to figure out is going to happen during the next 7 days. It’s very complicated.  Let’s break it down by time periods…

Wednesday (2/25):  A weak initial wave is moving through and should bring some clouds to the area and perhaps a chance for a light snow shower in the mountains.

Thursday and Friday:  A stronger wave moves into the region from the northwest on Thursday and should fire up snow showers in the mountains and perhaps even the valleys.  This isn’t overly moist, but by midday Friday I expect up to a few inches to have fallen in the high mountains with perhaps 3-6″ in the Cottonwoods which do well to amplify the effects of a NW flow.   Thursday and Friday won’t be deep ski days, but there could definitely be some powder to be had, especially in the Cottonwoods.  Here is a NAM estimate for snowfall in the high Wasatch:


Saturday-Sunday:  The first low pressure system that I talked about yesterday drops down the Pacific coast before eventually turning inland and heading toward the southern Great Basin.  Snow showers should continue at times in the north, but southern Utah should see the brunt of this storm and it will set up similar to this past weekend’s storm.  Significant accumulations possible down south….

Monday:  Could be a bit of a break day as the first system finally exits the area…

Tuesday-Wednesday: Another system drops into the area.  GEM and GFS have this as a quick-moving, but direct hit on northern Utah.  ECMWF drops this farther west before moving it south of us again in the same fashion as earlier systems.  In either scenario, the state should see more mountain snowfall, but the details are vague at this point.

Overall,  it’s just a very complicated forecast with so many moving parts.  The accumulations across northern Utah through this weekend should be modest, but with a long duration, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few showers here and there added up by the time all is said and done.  Southern Utah will likely hold off until Saturday before it starts seeing snow.  It is certainly possible that late Saturday thru Monday will be very snowy for places like Brian Head, however I’m not totally confident as some model runs take the best moisture south and east of the area again.  The one location that does seem to be a sure bet is Southern Colorado.  It’s a long drive, but if you’re desperate, Wolf Creek/Silverton/Durango/Telluride should all do very well this weekend with multiple feet of snow possible.

My general plan is to hang out here and hope to get lucky in the Wasatch on Thursday/Friday.  Then watch the model runs carefully and perhaps pull the trigger on a trip down to either southern Utah or southwest Colorado if it looks like things are coming together.

Long range: 

Late next week into the following weekend it looks like we might see a break in the action with a ridge nudging closer to the coast.  Long range ensembles suggest a return to more active weather may then be possible sometime around March 10th…. but that’s a long way out so there virtually no confidence in that right now.

Sorry for such a vague forecast… but it’s just impossible to pinpoint details right now.  The important thing is that we have chances for snow virtually every day for the next 8 days.  Like I mentioned with this past weekend’s storm.  In this type of pattern, it’s important to keep your schedule flexible, keep an eye on webcams and radar, and be ready to pull the trigger on a road trip if one place gets hammered.



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  • jim

    You’re right. The models lack consistency even in the short term. Yesterday the ec had a good storm next week now it drops it south and west. Regardless the pattern is ripe for frequent snowfall opportunities over the next week. Colorado looks to benefit the most with this pattern. How are the ensembles past 10 days?

  • Jeremy

    Thanks again for all the hard work! Any chance the Thursday-Friday storm could surprise us? I’m hitting up Snowbird on Friday with a friend who’s never experienced powder before, and I’m hoping this storm will drop a few more inches.

    • Absolutely… It’s one of those storms that doesn’t look impressive, but has potential to surprise. We just have to hope for the best…

  • Kdawnz

    So Jackson/Targhee aren’t looking to be the target of anything over the next week?

    • They should get some snow showers over the next few days but nothing major. Next week it will depend on the track of the Low, but if the GFS is right, then the Tetons could do well.

  • Would love to see one of these storms end up further north than projected in the models with more snow for the Wasatch but it is not likely. Growing up in Utah and forecasting snow professionally for 15 years I have noticed that when the models start trending the storms south of the Wasatch front that is almost always where they go with any changes usually even further to the south. There is always hope, lets hope we get lucky.

  • greg

    as always thanks for the awesome job. I was curious, do you know of any east coast ski report blogs like this. it would be super gnarly if one existed.


  • billy

    Heading to Park City, march 5-8th, not real familiar with what designates “south/north” parts of Utah. Park City sounds like it was missed by the last storm. Any chance of PC getting any of these storms?

  • Jeff

    I arrive at Park City on March 8th and am going out Heli Skiing. What can we expect in the back country? Great site thanks for all you work.

  • Marcus

    The long ranch is my concern. It all depends if a miracle March is still in the cards…
    We’re arriving in SLC on the 8th, but are willing to drive up to Jackson or east to the San Juans depending on what things look like.

  • Shawn

    Do yourself a favor, if you have the ability to take a road trip to Wolf a Creek Co you should. My best friend just celebrated his his honeymoon there with 40 inches in 72 hours and said it was epic. Type of powder skiing that might just satisfy that deep craving till next winter if need be. If I wasn’t on east coast I’d be roadtrippin;)