We are underway with 4 Utah resorts open as of today with more in the next week. To celebrate, Mother Nature is offering perhaps the first significant storm of the season. Cold and snow likely Sunday thru Tuesday of this week.
Yesterday, Brighton started spinning lifts to officially commence the start of the Wasatch ski season. Brian Head, Snowbird, PCMR will all also be open as of today. Today will be calm weather wise aside from a stiffening southwest wind ahead of our upcoming active weather.
The next few days will be categorized by waves of energy impacting the region. The strongest dynamics with this system will be dropping south and impacting the desert southwest, but the cold, unstable airmass will bring snow to much of Utah.
The first wave tonight into Sunday morning is very weak and will likely only bring minimal accumulations to the mountains. A follow-up wave tomorrow afternoon and evening is also weak, but could do a bit better to bring snowfall to the region. By Sunday night, I’d expect there to only be about 3-6″ in the mountains with perhaps 5-10″ in the Cottonwoods. The stronger wave will push in on Monday morning and last thru Monday night, perhaps lingering into Tuesday. This wave is by far the strongest and could drop 6-12″ in the Wasatch with 1-2 feet for the favored Cottonwood Canyons. That would bring 3-day totals to 9-18″ for the mountains with 12-28″ for the Cottonwoods.
Models are on board with at least this much snowfall. First, let’s look at the latest NAM model for the Upper Cottonwoods as provided by the University of Utah:
You can see it dropping nearly 30″ by Tuesday midday. Next, the NAEFS ensembles showing great consistency and looking even better than yesterday:
A mean of nearly 40″ and all ensembles showing at least 25″. Not bad at all!
For Park City and other areas of the Wasatch, they won’t be nearly as favored by this cold, unstable northwest flow, but should still see some decent totals. Here is the same graph for Park City:
Over 15″ forecast with a minimum of 10″ for the lowest ensemble. Definitely giving me high confidence that we’ll get some decent totals throughout the mountains of Utah.
The wildcard will be lake effect snow, which could enhance snowfall rates and amount southeast of the GSL.
Models have trended weaker with a follow-up system for later in the week. In general, we’ll see a large amplified ridge off the west coast with systems diving down from western Canada into our region. Usually these systems are cold, but moisture starved. At this point, I’m not seeing any one specific storm, but I’d guess that we will have chances for snow continuing for the first 10 days of December.
P.S. After literally years of requests, Wasatch Snow Forecast is finally offering t-shirts with the help of MtnRanks. If you’ve never heard of MtnRanks, it’s a local active wear clothing company that makes great climbing clothes, mountain biking jerseys and much much more. Happy to partner such a great local company to produce these shirts. Purchasing a t-shirt will be a way to directly help support WSF and the costs of running this website. It’s basically a way to make a donation, while getting a sweet t-shirt in return. There are two different styles: a “peaks” t-shirt and a “backcountry” t-shirt with unique designs created by the MtnRanks team. There are also two colors of each shirt to choose from. In the future, we hope to offer long-sleeve, hoodies, and hats as well.
Please help support WSF by buying a t-shirt (or four) for yourself, your friends, and your family for the holidays. You can find the t-shirts HERE or by clicking “Merchandise” on the menu bar above. Thank you!