Another One Down, More to Come

Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 6:35 am


Another storm winding down this morning in Northern Utah.  Snow will continue today into tonight for Southern Utah.  A break Friday and Saturday before a very strong/wet/windy storm brings heavy rain and high mountain snow to Utah Sunday thru Tuesday.  Additional storm likely beyond that.


We are wrapping up another storm this morning in Northern Utah.  This storm brought 10-30″ of snow to Wasatch resorts.  The northern Wasatch was the big winner.  The warm advection boundary setup farther north on Tuesday night and pounded Ogden north to Cache Valley.  Beaver Mountain had an extremely deep day yesterday, and storm totals up there were likely close to 30″.  Because this boundary setup farther north, the central Wasatch (Cottonwoods/PC) didn’t see consistent heavy snow until yesterday evening when it pushed south.  Snow also ended a bit sooner than models were forecasting just a couple days ago.  Still almost everybody ended up in the 1-2 feet forecast range, just generally on the lower end with a few notable exception such as Beaver.  Sundance also reporting some big numbers, which is a bit unexpected.  Today should offer great ski conditions throughout.

We are now into a break period that will last thru Saturday.  Models have been showing moisture increasing earlier, which means more clouds on Saturday so unfortunately if you were hoping for sunny skies, you’ll probably have to get those on Friday as we should cloud up on Saturday.  It also means that we could see some mountain snow begin as early as late Saturday night.

Sunday looks like rain will develop in the lower elevations with snow levels rising.  Sunday morning we could see snow levels at 7,000 feet and these could rise to, or even briefly above 8,000 feet, on Sunday evening.  Then they should fall gradually on Monday back down to 7,000 feet or lower.  The reason for the high snow levels is that this system is tapping into moisture from the sub-tropics in true AR fashion:

That means that the base of several resorts could see an extended period of rain from Sunday thru Monday before snow levels fall later Monday into Monday night.  Snow in the highest elevations will be significant.  Models have remained consistent showing 2-4″ of liquid for the high Wasatch.  That could mean 20-40″ of dense snowfall between Sunday morning and Tuesday.

As for skiing/riding during this time.  It’s not your typical Utah storm.  It will be wet (potentially rainy) and very windy.  I’m not saying it won’t be fun, just be prepared for atypical conditions.  Avalanche danger should also be through the roof so please consult the UAC before venturing out-of-bounds.

If that weren’t enough, we will have a good chance for another system on this one’s heels.  There is some model disagreement.  But Tuesday night thru Friday of next week looks active.  Again, snow levels should be relatively high, but probably not as high as we will see with the first storm.

Long Range:

Didn’t look beyond the end of the next week.  Sorry.  Too much going on over the next 7 days to worry too much about that far out.  A good problem to have…


An updated look at totals….

Note:  These are the totals reported by the resorts that I grab each morning.  These totals frequently get revised later in the morning so they may not exactly match what you see on the resort’s page later in the day.  I’ve tried to update them to be as accurate as possible.

January Totals 2-Jan 3-Jan 4-Jan 5-Jan Totals
Brighton 7 21 6 18 52
Solitude 10 28 4 9 51
Sundance 1 20 3 22 46
Deer Valley 5 19 4 16 44
Snowbird 5 19 2 13 39
Beaver Mountain 7 2 10 17 36
Alta 4 19 3 9 35
Park City 6 17 3 7 33
Snowbasin 8 2 7 11 28
Powder Mountain 8 2 3 12 25
Brian Head 1 0 0 2 3
Eagle Point 0 0 1 1 2


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13 thoughts on “Another One Down, More to Come

  1. Poster Nutbag

    Can you explain the variance between LCC and BCC this cycle? And the variance between Alta and Snowbird? Odd to look up and not see Alta leading the pack!

    1. Commentista

      Contrary to popular myth, Alta does not always have the deepest snow totals. It’s all based on storm direction. This one came out of the West, and the main moist air blob ran north of the central Wasatch. Alta & SB typically do better on a NW flow, when the main moisture mass rolls right over the GSL, and thru the main SLC Valley. And all these total vary widely based on the exact location of the snow stake measurements. For example, Solitude’s Summit Lift often gets snow as deep, or deeper, than much of Alta. Full disclosure: I had BCC season passes for years. I’m now on the second season of an Altabird Pass, and also have an Eagle Point pass for when those storms roll fully out of the south.

    2. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      As already mentioned, it’s topography. BCC tends to do better in flows (wind direction) from SW whereas LCC is king in NW generally. Deer Valley and Sundance are also often favored in SW flow. The most common flow for heavy snowfall is from NW, hence why LCC usually has the higher seasonal totals. The Wasatch is full of micro and nano climates that only manifest themselves in certain types of storms.

  2. Whirlybird

    How can Deer Valley get 16? And PC only 7? I live just past PC and we got closer to 16″ I’m snowfused

  3. Andre

    quick question – I know this is a really neophyte question, so please forgive the ignorance. But looking at GFS runs , how can the model runs from 00utc vs 06utc be so completely different? do they use different parameters? or does the outcome literally change completely every 6 hrs? very confusing.
    one run looks great for Saturday, the next terrible…

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      This Saturday? Shouldn’t look too different… Next Saturday (the 14th)? Is a long way away, small changes of inputs can cause radical differences that far down the road. Beyond 7 days, ensemble means tend to be more reliable/consistent that the actual operational runs.

      1. Andre

        sorry, should have mentioned, next Saturday the 14th. us non-residents I think are all probably reading your work trying to ‘guesstimate’ which long weekends to book to try to catch some pow. perhaps a futile endeavor! but last year I skied 5-6 days pow reading your blog and the GFS making some guesses about moisture patterns. still a crapshoot, but odds way better. Just realizing that 10 days out (when plane tix still reasonable) the models just are all over the place. ( I suspect the 12utc model is conspiring against me… I swear : ) is there a good link for a visual graphic ensemble mean 10 days out? I have the link to the Univ of Utah ensemble graphics which go out 5 days. those are awesome. thanks again for your work!

  4. Matthew Jeglum

    Noticed that you didn’t mention the rain to 8k or wind in the SkiUtah hype piece. C’mon man, don’t sell out.

    1. Andre

      its not selling out. that’s rude. People from outside Utah (like myself), particularly east coast… if we get a 75 inch base and 2 inches of fresh snow its better than anything we skied all year at home!. if you get a 6-9 inch snow and its wet and windy, that might be for a local a weak day, but if you’re from new York city that’s great. you don’t want people fretting over ‘how good’ the powder will be on a skiutah site. you want tourism.

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