Focusing on the Positives

Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 8:24 am


A system is clipping northern Utah today with snow showers likely in the mountains.  Accumulations should generally be light, but could be enough for some soft turns today and tomorrow.  A break Tuesday and Wednesday before a stronger storm moves in for late Thursday into Friday.


I feel like there has been quite a bit of negativity lately, which is mostly my fault.  First and foremost I’m a powder skier, so when I don’t see much powder in the forecast, I have a tendency for a negative tone to prevail in these forecasts.  The fact of the matter is we’ve had numerous powder days so far this year and ski conditions have actually been great over the past 9 days, despite no new snow.  We’ve also got a couple storms in the forecast.  No need for the doom and gloom.

The first system is pushing in right now.  Snow started in the Northern Wasatch and has just now spread to the central Wasatch.  Snowing healthily at Alta at 8am:


This snow should continue thru the day and into tonight off and on.  Highest accumulations will likely be in the northern Wasatch and also LCC in a northwest flow.  I think 2-5″ is possible, but we can’t rule out more than that, especially in LCC if that orographic machine turns on like it did earlier this month.  Today could get better throughout the day.  Don’t be surprised if tomorrow is a “sleeper” powder day.

We’ll clear out for late Monday thru Wednesday.   We should also press the “reset” button on the inversion.  So the worst conditions should now be behind us.

The next storm comes in on Thursday the 18th.  We’ve been talking about this storm for a long time.  It looks like it’s fairly strong, but quick moving, which will limit amounts somewhat.  Snow should be heaviest late on Thursday into Thursday night.  This could set up for a good Friday morning powder day.  Here is the QPF for the next week as shown by GFS/GEM ensembles:

You can see that ensembles are all over the place with regard to how much precip can be expected for the end of the week.  Anywhere from practically nothing to 2″+ of liquid.  I think right now somewhere in the .5-1.0″ is the most likely… which translates to a moderate storm.

In general, it looks like high pressure is more likely for the last 7-8 days of the month.  That doesn’t mean we can’t get storms, it just means that at this point high pressure seems a bit more likely.  CFS and ECMWF weeklies still show a more active and El Nino-influenced pattern developing, but at this point it’s hard to say when that will actually occur.  If I were you, I’d hope for the best in the long-range, but be sure to make the most of these storms this week, just in case the long-range remains dry for longer than expected.




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10 thoughts on “Focusing on the Positives

  1. ct

    what are the snow levels looking like for the Thursday storm? looks like they may be pretty high and PC may get a bunch of rain?

  2. Chad Niel

    Evan, I know this isn’t necessarily your area of expertise, but I’m curious about the potential for inversion. Hi pressure alone should no create bad inversion as far as I thought, it requires cold air to get trapped. If we really get temperatures in the valley’s in the 50s will they stay that way or does the hi pressure force the cold air into the area?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      Generally speaking, it’s easier for inversions to form when you have cold air in place at the start of high pressure/ridging. It’s the cold air sinking that causes inversions after all. You can get inversions with temps in the 50s in the valleys, but they are usually not as strong/noticeable. The next few days will be an example of an inversion that began with temps that were not quite as cold and therefore the inversion is not as profound. But it’s still there to some degree. So, no, high pressure does not cause cold air to come into the area. It’s a matter of how much cold air is already in the region when high pressure sets up.

  3. Jon Russell

    I’m baffled how anyone can get down and negative about this year… This is one of the best powder skiing years we’ve had in recent memory… Especially after suffering through the last 4 or so years of “the blob.” Even the best of years experience mid-winter thaws. Even our inversion has been kept relatively at bay until this last week.

  4. dhwilkerson

    Negativity perhaps. Frustration definitely. If you go back to WSF’s posts last February, you will see the same level of frustration. When you begin reading this blog first of October and when you once-a-year trip comes into view the words “ridge city” pops up year after year, the frustration boils over.

  5. Seth Richardson

    So glad I dont live in salt lake, went down there to grab something from pictureline and was absolutely shocked as it went from blue sky’s and sunshine to brown fog that had a very noticeable smell. Utah may be a cool place for outdoor enthusiasts but that will be a distant memory if population keeps growing as it is.

    Anyways we have about 4 inches on the ground up at snowbasin. Which is defiantly nice! Looks to keep snowing throughout the day as well.

  6. Justin Wehner

    Negativity? This has been one of the best winters of my life! And my 3 year old picked up his snowplow on his second day on the magic carpet last week.

    Life is good, folks. And we’ll get more snow, too.

  7. Robert

    I’m with you man! Skied DV and and Alta over the last 9 days. No powder days but the skiing was amazing. I was surprised with no snow and high temps, I can’t recall ever considering it even a little icy. Great place and wished I lived closer.

  8. Jeff Parker

    I agree with you Evan, it is very easy to get down when the high pressure sets in but just like you said, we have still had some great days over the last week. But instead of pulling out the powder boards we have to opt for the groomer sticks. Considering how Dec. and Jan. were for us we can live with that. Although our attitude’s could change if we are still having these discussions a week from now. But on the flip side, avalanche conditions have improved and we have been able to venture a little bit farther into the backcountry.

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