Snow showers this week, high pressure next

Monday, December 28, 2015 at 7:36 am

Tuesday Update:

As expected, light snow showers developed yesterday into last night.  Generally, mountains just picked up a trace to 2″.  Perhaps just enough to ensure soft turns.  Mostly cloudy conditions with occasional light snow looks to continue thru Wednesday night.  High pressure taking control for the New Year and beyond.

It still looks like a couple low pressure systems will split in the Pacific with the southern branch tracking to our south next week.  At this point, it looks like most of the action will be confined to the desert southwest.  To me, it looks like the first 10 days of January look mostly dry and fairly warm.  All indications continue to point to a more active west coast developing again around mid-month.  Hopefully that includes Utah as well.   WSF



A cold airmass will remain in place which will keep snow quality high for the next several days.  In addition to the cold air, snow showers are also likely at times today (Monday) thru Thursday morning.  Accumulations will remain light.  A break to quiet and warmer weather looks likely for the new year and beyond.


Temps are cold once again today.  Much more in the way of cloud cover around than yesterday as the first of a couple weak systems moves into the area out of the northwest.  I don’t expect much other than perhaps a few light snow showers at times in the mountains.  Certainly can’t rule out an inch or two from time to time between now and Thursday morning.  Overall, ski conditions should remain good. The backcountry is starting to settle a bit and the snow there is staying good, particularly on northern aspects, thanks to the cold air.  Please consult UAC before venturing out-of-bounds and ensure you are properly equipped and trained as avalanche danger is still likely to be elevated.

By New Year’s Day, we will be under the influence of high pressure.  Temperatures aloft will warm and inversions in the valley are likely to form.  Next weekend might be a good one for skiing just to get out of the valley gunk.

Overall, it looks like the pattern is going to start a transition during the first week of January to one in which the southern jet is stronger.  This is a more classic El Nino pattern.  Good news for Southern California!  Unfortunately, it might be awhile before Utah gets in on much of the action as this is not a pattern that favors us, at least not initially.  My hope is that as time passes, the southern jet will push farther north and be able to penetrate farther inland.

The current CFS forecast reflects this in a way, here is the next 10 days QPF:


Very dry for the interior west, including Utah.  By day 10-20, things get much more active for California, and some of that moisture is able to nose inland as well:


January’s recently have not been kind to us.  Based on Alta-Guard UDOT data, it’s been 7 years (2009) since we’ve had a January with above average snowfall.  Even our great 2010-11 season recorded only 42″ of January snowfall (Average = 94″).  Will we be able to break that curse?  That will depend on how far north and how far inland these Nino-driven storms make it.


P.S.   If you haven’t already tried it, uberSKI is an awesome way to get to and from the ski resort.  After a great day of skiing and apres this weekend, we used it to get down from the mountain and it was very quick, comfortable and convenient.  Uber is giving away TEN $1000-prize packs if you ride by January 1, which include $500 gift card and $500 in Backcountry gear.

You can sign up by clicking HERE.  Remember to use promo code “WSFUBER” and your first ride is free (up to $20).

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  • David

    WSF… the website!!!! Thanks for all your effort and passion!!!! Given all the recent snow…I am surprised that the resorts are still not fully open (snowbird – 50%, park city- 70%, etc). Any thought on why they are still not fully open? Or any of your viewers have any ideas?


    • I was at Snowbird yesterday and there was a lot of avalanche bombing going on and ski patrol was working extremely hard to get terrain open. This last storm cycle created some very dangerous conditions and it’s just taking awhile to get terrain safe for heavy ski traffic. It’s not for lack of snow. I posted a picture of the west side of Mineral Basin on WSF instagram account today that shows all the great snow. I would expect those numbers to get much closer to 100% by the end of the week.

  • Kevin

    I made a little video showing the snow at PCMR over the last cycle, conditions were good! Crowds, not so much.

  • Matthew Crain

    How bad do you think the snow conditions will be at PCMR from Sunday into next week? A lot of my group skis mostly groomers and does the occasional off-piste tame skiing. Looks like temps will rise (high 20s/lower 30s) and will stay consistently at that temp for a high, we’re used to eastern skiing so we don’t need powder or anything. Just don’t want the sheer ice that we get over here in the east

    • Robert Hamilton Denison

      personally I would ski Alta. I was at deer valley last year in feb and Alta skied better than Deer valley, however, all resorts should be good with all the snow, but Alta would definitely be my choice and it is only about 45 minutes from pcmr and is well worth the drive IMO

      • Matthew Crain

        Thanks we’re definitely planning on spending at least a day at altabird!

    • Compared to skiing the East, I’d say no matter what, you’ll be thrilled!