A Few Fluffy Inches

Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 8:55 am

Summary:

A cold trough will settle into the region tomorrow with periods of snowfall thru Wednesday.  Accumulations will generally be light, but the main story will be the coldest air of the season.  A chances for a stronger storm later in the week.

Details:

Sorry for the late nature of the post.  I was out late last night in Park City celebrating adding another year of life to my résumé and filling myself up with sushi and sake at Yuki Yama (which I highly recommend, by the way).  So I slept in a bit today, but it’s time to write a forecast then get out for some turns.

Today will be relatively mild as a southwest flow develops ahead of the cold front which will drop into the region tonight.  Expect snow to develop overnight.  I don’t think widespread snow will last long, but we should have at least a couple hours of snow along the Wasatch and Wasatch Front tonight.  We should see snow taper off during the day tomorrow.  Overall, not too impressive, with 3-6″ the most likely amount for the high elevations.

A second, even colder, wave will push into the region late Monday night into Tuesday.  This will bring some additional snow showers to the region and perhaps another few inches of snowfall.  The main story will be the COLD air on Tuesday and Wednesday with temperatures above 8k feet likely in the single digits for highs and below zero for overnight minimums.

That means that total accumulations by the end of the day Tuesday should be 4-8″ with perhaps a bit more in some favored areas.  Definitely not deep, but we should have a couple days of fluff on top of hardpack that will make for some great skiing.

It’s looking like we will have a chance for a stronger, slightly warmer storm for later in the week.  The flow will become more zonal (west to east) and we’ll see a system move in off the pacific and cross the Great Basin.  Right now it looks like a high chance of snow on Friday into Friday night.  Here is the U of U’s ensemble predictions:

1204_plumes

You can see tomorrow and Tuesday’s systems.  Then a more prominent upward trend for the 9th and 10th.  I think the Canadian ensembles are pulling up the mean a bit.  But you can see that there’s definitely likely to be a good storm for the end of the week.  Anywhere from 1-3″ of liquid over the next week.  That’s roughly equivalent to 1-3 feet of snow for the Upper Cottonwoods, with likely slightly less elsewhere.

The most recent GFS operation is definitely optimistic for us over the next ten days, with another storm for early next week as well.  You can see the total snowfall thru these ten days:

1204_gfs_snow

Don’t pay too much attention to the numbers.  But it illustrates that we’ll have a good chance for decent accumulations and some good powder days.  The one other thing worth noting is that precipitation drops off dramatically as you head toward southern Utah.  That is concerning because if the storm track shifts north just a touch, it could mean much less snow for us in the Wasatch.

Long range:

After mid-December, there is very little agreement.  Some model runs have showed active weather continuing, while others have tried to give us some ridging and a break leading up to the holidays.  We’ll just have to just wait and see.

What does seem apparent, is that we’ll have a healthy base heading into the holidays, which is critical for getting terrain open to help disperse the holiday crowds around the mountain.

WSF





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  • robwbright

    Hi! Really appreciate your updates and have a question. 3 buddies and I are scheduled to stay in Ogden and ski Jan 3-7. Our plan was to ski PowMow, ‘Basin, ‘Bird, ‘Basin and PowMow. But I see that ‘Basin and PowMow haven’t gotten nearly as much snow as the Cottonwoods.

    Should we seriously be considering shifting our focus to the Cottonwoods resorts? Or do you think PowMow and ‘Basin will get 100% open by Jan 3? Thanks!

    • Nah… that’s a month away and based on current outlook, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t entirely open by then. A lot of the reason they aren’t more open now is lack of demand. That will change heading into the holidays. Your plan is solid. If, for some reason the current forecast doesn’t pan out,you’ve got plenty of time to adjust accordingly anyhow

      • robwbright

        Thanks! Theoretically, I could cancel our current AirBnB and make lodging reservations down in SLC. But we loved PowMow and ‘Basin last year (and we’re throwing in the ‘Bird day for variety).

        Just want to make sure there’s plenty of snow for off piste adventures.