One Hope

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 7:33 am

Thursday update;

Everything below is still valid… Only change is that models have trended slightly farther north with the trough next week which reduces our chances of seeing meaningful snowfall.  Always a chance trends could change but our run of misfortune continues…WSF



Cooler temps today with a chance for a few showers in Southern Utah.  Dry weather will continue through the weekend into the beginning of next week.  Our next chance for snow is Tuesday and Wednesday (3/24 & 3/25).


Yesterday we had a cool front move through the area.  It was very weak and didn’t manage to drop any precip, however we did cloud over and today temperatures will be cooler so the mountain slush-fest won’t be quite as hardcore today.

This weekend looks to be dry.  The Euro (and to an extent the Canadian) had been persistent on bringing a trough into the area while the GFS has kept all energy to our north.  As expected, the Euro is now in line with the GFS and it look dry for us.  Perhaps just a few clouds and breezes this weekend, but no snow expected.  Here is the total QPF through Monday of next week:


The tiny bit you see in Southern Utah is from today’s weak front that is now down there, but otherwise we remain high and dry with just some light precip up in Montana and northern Idaho.

Our one hope is a trough for next Tuesday and Wednesday.  Right now, the Euro is farther north and weaker with this system, only bringing the Wasatch a light dusting of snow.  The GFS is stronger and deeper with the trough and would bring the area halfway decent accumulations.  It is far from set in stone, but we have no choice but to pin our hopes on this trough for next week.  I’ll be watching this like a hawk over the coming days and let you know how it plays out.


Yesterday I mentioned the models were showing some more active weather moving in by the end of the month.  Of course, as I feared yesterday, they’ve already seemed to back off on this idea.  I know…. SHOCKING!  My reaction checking models each morning….


The good news, if you’re looking hard enough, is that the MJO continues to march east into Phase 8 and hopefully it can continue into Phases 1,2,3 in the coming weeks.  As mentioned yesterday, that could help flip the pattern.  In the Spring, the +PDO (anonymously warm sea surface temperatures off west coast) which has likely been fueling the ridge this winter becomes less of a factor as the season changes.  These factors combined could give us a good April.  According to the CFS model, the next two weeks look relatively quiet for the western CONUS (continental US) with more drier-than-normal conditions:


That carries us through the end of March, then the first week of April (week 3) we see the pattern flip with potential for the jet to undercut the ridge.  CFS currently calls for above-average precip for most of the West:


It’s kinda sad to be pinning all our hopes on one weak trough next week and then a 3 week forecast that extends into April.  But it’s all we’ve got this winter…. Personally, I’ve busted out the mountain bike and plan to ride that for now.  But the skis are at the ready for when storms return!


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35 thoughts on “One Hope

  1. Sal

    I spat out my coffee when I saw that reaction GIF, hahahaha. Totally accurate! Thanks for the laugh, but you owe me a new keyboard…

  2. Steve

    Given how things have gone this winter, I’m sure the storm next week will all but disappear in near future. Hate to be pessimistic, but this winter and the models constantly giving and then always taking away have made me so.

  3. Jeremy

    Thank you for putting this out every day by the way. Always a pleasure to read! A couple questions:

    Does the snow tend to fall heavy in April? And will the pack be healthy enough in April, if we get big dumps, to make the powder enjoyable to ride?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      April averages 68″ of snow in the Upper Cottonwoods. The snow is usually denser and heavier than in mid winter as temps are generally warmer. That doesn’t mean we can’t get light and fluffy, just a bit less likely. I don’t think snowpack will be an issue in the Cottonwoods where they will have a sufficient base. However, snowbasin/PC resorts could have a tough time keeping their lower mountain open long enough to make it to April snowstorms. If April snowstorms materialize at all…

      1. Mark

        Are you suggesting that there is a chance that PCMR, DV and Canyons could be closing before the end of March?

        1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

          I have no idea what their current situation is since I have not skied there in a few weeks. But, I am saying that they’ve lost so much of their lower base, that any potential April storms might not do much for the lower mountain. My guess is that they will be able to keep white strips down to the bottom in tact through the end of the month, but probably most of the skiing will be done on the upper mountain. As far as I know, they are still planning on remaining open through middle of April.

  4. bummer

    I’m holding out hope for our trip April 1-6, however after looking at the PC web cams and seeing forecasts we are faced with a tough decision of canceling the trip. Honestly, I don’t see the bottom of PC holding up for 2 more weeks..but maybe I’m wrong. Without any snow in the forecast the question I’d ask everyone is, would you cancel? Yes the cottonwoods are better, but we have the epic passes.. with a lot of money on the line its decision time.. any thoughts?

    1. Jim Nusbaum

      I hate to tell people not to come to my town but I would cancel. I live in Park City. I haven’t skied in a week but a week ago the lower mountain was already in serious trouble with lots of dirt and rocks coming through. Since then we have had a straight week of above freezing temps (even at night) with daytime temps at the base close to 70 degrees. By April 1st I think things will be really bad.

    2. Blake

      @Bummer —

      My family is in town and we’ve skied Solitude, PCMR, Canyons, DV and tomorrow is Snowbasin. I hate to say it, but thank goodness they are awesome and have a good attitude. I was amazed some of the runs at Canyons are still open. Super sketchy. I hate to say cancel, but if it were my trip, my dollars, I’d bail. Sorry friend.

    3. bummer

      Much thanks guys. I will probably cancel. With a family in tow, its probably best to reinvest the money into next year. The cost of an epic pass, if you have kids, is EPIC! (unless your local) Maybe securing a place for next year and planning ahead financially seems wiser at this point. Hopefully my cancellation makes it snow big time, if so someone owes me a drink next holiday season.

  5. Mark

    For anyone who has skied in the past week, how bad is it? I need some straight talk. I’m coming out from 27th-31st, and I’m now legitimately concerned that there won’t be much skiable terrain left.

    1. Eddie Huber

      I went Saturday at canyons early in the morning it was like snow cone snow, by after 1 it was more like slurpee. It was pretty fun in the morning on the groomers but got chopped up way bad by the end of the day. We still had a great time though

    2. Michelle

      I’ve been skiing Snowbird every weekend including this last one and there is still plenty of snow there and at Alta. It was super warm Sunday and it’s spring skiing for sure but if you don’t mind heading to the Cottonwoods you should still be able to have a good time.

  6. Terri

    PCMR is already not great and is being skied out by spring break folks. It’s too warm to make snow. Trouble is if you cancel it will snow, it’s Murphy’s law.

  7. Adam

    I am pinning my hopes on some April snow. We are headed to PC April 11 and are locked into a condo there. That being said, we will have a car and if we have to drive to Snowbird/Alta, so be it. The way I see it is that if the weather prevents us from getting there, there is no reason to leave PC, and if the weather pattern continues, at least Snowbird/Alta should be tolerable. We are coming from the Northeast, so I still think the conditions will be as good as we generally see out here.

  8. The Nockle

    All of this optimism is making me want to throw up 🙂 Had a good time at Soli Sunday though, so it’s not TOO bad out there yet…

  9. jim

    Evan is the GEFS mean bringing the trough any further south than the operational models, like it did yesterday? The 12z gfs is borderline with trough…again. The Canadian still has decent precip the 25th but like the euro has backed off any precip the 22nd.

  10. Paul Herwit

    We really need a strong el nino to form in the Pacific and I had heard that one was forming and that it is expected to effect the hurricanes this year. I spoke to one meteorologist friend and he says that he does not know where that information came from because he sees nothing at this point that would back that up. What do you see?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      El Nino events don’t generally correlate to above average precip in Northern Utah unless they are very strong events. We are in a weak El Nino currently and there are a number of clues out there that suggest this will continue and perhaps strengthen as we head towards next winter. However, it’s way way way too early to have any clue what next winter will look like. We really need waters to cool down along the west coast, which looks unlikely anytime soon. Time will tell…

  11. jim

    Evan do any of the ensembles bring the trough further south than the operational models? At least the euro seems to be trying to bring it further south with each run.

      1. jim

        …could get a decent dump if it comes into line, although snow levels would be fairly high. LCC would do well. Sad how we are reduced to pinning our hopes on something that doesn’t seem to want to happen, the cards seem stacked against it. But we still keep hoping anyway…

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