Bonus Time: Delivered

Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 6:32 am

1pm Update:

I confirmed that the upper mountain of Sundance really did get that much snow.  One of the best bluebird mornings of my life.  Those of us that were there will remember it for a long time.

12z suite looks a little bit better for a bit of light precip tonight in far northern Utah.  I’m not quite sure how much we can squeeze out, but after the week we’ve had, I’m not going to bet against it.   Perhaps a few inches of snow in the Wasatch tonight, mainly north of SLC.




A system clipped northern Utah last night and brought a healthy dose of snow to most Northern Mountains.  Utah will see a warm up this weekend. A small system moves in early Sunday morning for a quick round of snow.  A large, and moist system could bring big snow to Utah early next week.


Our bonus storm we talked about yesterday morning sure did deliver last night — better than expected if you ask me.  Highest total is Sundance with 17″… very interesting.  LCC is in the 10-12″ range.  PC 8-10″.  BCC 7-9″.  Snowbasin 15″, although 6″ of that was from yesterday morning.  Powder Mountain 8″.    A good, non-discriminatory storm for Northern Utah.

The one caveat from this storm was that it appears the winds picked up after the snow stopped, so much of the snow in exposed areas could be wind blown.  You can see this wind shape the snow this morning at Snowbird:


Deer Valley showing really good accumulations on their Empire Cam deck:


In short, there’s plenty of snow out there and the skiing/riding today should be great.

We will clear up today and warm up for Friday and Saturday.  Clouds could still linger as moisture pushes into the PNW, but we should be mostly dry.

The next system is going to push in late Saturday night into Sunday morning.  This is a quick-moving cold front.  Nothing too impressive, but it could drop some quick modest accumulations to add a bit of softness to your turns on Sunday.

Interest is still on the Monday-Wednesday time frame.  Right now it appears that moisture will start to push into Northern Utah on Monday in association with a strong jet aimed right at us.  The strongest impulse will move into the region on Tuesday with a prolonged period of heavy precipitation for mainly Northern Utah.  This could last into Wednesday.

Models have been consistent in how they handle this system and virtually all ensembles indicate quite a lot of snow for the high elevations.  Here is a look at the 00z NAEFS ensemble snowfall for the Upper Cottonwoods:

You can see we have a tiny little storm on Sunday (20-DEC), then things start to pick up on Monday (21-Dec), then mother nature unloads on Tuesday and Wed (22-Dec and 23-Dec).   According to this, even the lowest ensemble output is 40″ of snow for the Upper Cottonwoods by Christmas Eve.  Even if this is 30% overdone, we can still assume that a hefty dose of snowfall is on the way.

Yesterday there were a few questions about snow levels.  They will certainly be higher, probably off the valley floors of the Wasatch Front, which means rain on top of all our snow… yuck!  However, right now I don’t see them much higher than 6,500 feet.  Should be all snow, just not quite the light and fluffy variety we saw this week.  While it could cause some avalanche issues, this denser snow will be good for filling in the backcountry and getting more terrain open in the long-run.

It does look like there will be a break around Christmas Eve.  Right now the models diverge for Christmas.  The GFS brings in another similar system, whereas the EC amplifies and drops the system down the west coast.  Both solutions would bring us continued active weather, but the GFS would be much more significant.

Same message as yesterday.  Lots of potential.  Nothing guaranteed.  We are till 5 days away from the strongest portion of this upcoming storm, so details are still vague.  Stay tuned!


P.S.  Last I heard, LCC is closed for avalanche control with an estimated opening of 9am.

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  • Harrison Freni

    I’m super excited that empire is going to be open soon! I literally can’t wait. Last year we had to wait until the 25th to get into xfiles/daly chutes. That also means lady morgan may open up as well!

    • Matthew Crain

      How do you know empire is opening soon?

      • Harrison Freni

        Look how much snow there is on the empire webcam, I predict 1-2 days until one of the first few runs opens up.

        • SJG

          Not so fast; the amt of snow isn’t the issue. It’s having the crews get out there and MAKE IT SAFE for in-bounds skiers. Most guys with a lift ticket have no safety equipment, and almost none of them have snow-sense to stay out of trouble. Most think “everything is ok if it’s open”!

          I’ve talked to some patrollers, and they are working their tails off to open terrain, but it’s very time consuming (and dangerous), and there is no margin for error considering who is going to ski on it if it’s “open”.

          The snow pack right now is very dangerous, especially in areas that haven’t been skied yet.

          • Harrison Freni

            Empire was pretty awesome yesterday!

        • Matthew Crain

          Hey looks like your prediction was spot on my man

        • Matthew Crain

          All the terrain on empire is open even x-files and daly!

          • Harrison Freni

            I had a blast skiing it yesterday!

  • Matthew Crain

    Thanks again for another great post!! Our trip to PC looks to be in good shape especially after last night’s dumping!

  • Drew G

    Moving my flight to Monday… See you then.
    I am coming down with a bad case of the Powder Flu.

  • No way Sundance had 17″ in the last 24 hours. Looking at I can see how they reported it (snow interval column) but if you look at the actual depth change and also look at the very close by snotel site reality sets in.

    • I thought the same thing when I woke up this morning. In fact, I thought it had to be a major exaggeration until I was 1/3 of the way up Arrowhead, then suddenly… POW. It was 100% accurate for the upper part of the mountain. If anything, it could have been a bit more than 17″. One of the best bluebird powder mornings of my life. Bishop’s Bowl was UNREAL.

  • dov shore

    IM SO READY FOR A HARD NUKE. Lets hope for that 80 inch mark to become a reality

  • Anil Seth

    Are the winds really going to be 40-50 mph up in LCC tomorrow? The forecast is all placid for down in SLC; wondering if NWS forecast has some kind of mistake.

  • Spank Tickleman

    Went snowmobiling in American Fork Canyon today (Dec 17) and was very impressed with the snow up there! There was more powder after the last storm than there was IN TOTAL all of last season! Pray to the powder gods that this is our makeup year for the last 4 ho-hum winters!