One Last Messy Storm

Friday, February 10, 2017 at 7:02 am

Summary:

A warm storm will bring periods of very wet snow and/or rain to the region today.  Temperatures cool tonight as snow starts to diminish.  Saturday could be good, especially in the morning.  A break in active weather from Sunday thru late next week.  More storms possible after February 17th.

Details:

An atmospheric river has spent the past 48 hours pounding California.  This is causing major flooding issues as rain fell on an unusually deep snowpack up to 9,000 feet in the Sierra.

Most of that moisture has been shunted north as it pushes east, but northern Utah has seen periodic showers in the high elevations.  Warmth has been able to push north into our region and we’ve seen record high temperatures.  66F in SLC yesterday and it got up to 43F at 9700′ in LCC.  Things have cooled a touch, but it is still 35F at 9700′.  Snow levels likely at or above 9k feet currently. Those should slowly fall today as more widespread precipitation overtakes the region.  By this evening, snow levels will come down to 8,000 feet, which is still above many resort bases.   They’ll continue to fall tonight down to 5-6k feet, but by then most of the storm will be done.

Accumulations later today through tonight will likely be in the 6-12″ range way up high.  Down lower, between 7,500 and 8,500 feet, I think lesser amounts.  A lot will be dependent on just how quickly we can get snow levels to drop.   Today is likely not going to be a great ski day.  There is a chance that this afternoon could get good if the snow levels drop enough.  Elevation is your friend.  Warm air and wind, however, will be your enemies.

Saturday morning will likely be the time to get after it.  Snow should be dense on bottom with some fluffier stuff on top.  Could be fun!

Overall, these are not the type of storms that generally bring the best conditions to the Wasatch.  If you ask me, I’m ready to see the back of this storm cycle and move on to the next.

Long Range:

We’ll have a break Sunday thru Thursday next week.  But it won’t be too long before the pattern changes again and we see a chance for storms.   The first of which pushes in next Friday.  This storm is looking like one of those sacrificial lambs that has the thankless task of breaking down the ridge.  That means the storm will likely weaken as it pushes inland.  Hopefully we can get some snow out of it late Friday into Saturday of next week.  There looks to be another storm on its heels.  Hopefully that one will be able to more easily progress inland.  Overall, it looks pretty stormy from the 17th onward.  Stay tuned…

WSF

P.S.  Whisper Ridge, along with the rest of the northern Wasatch, is absolutely killing it this year.  A snowpack of 170-200% above average.  Check out this photo of one of the yurts in the yurt village after the storm earlier this week:

Like the rest of us, they might see some rain today but it will change to snow sooner up north and likely hold the goods into early next week if you’re looking for some pow!  Check it out at www.whisperridgeutah.com,  you may be able to inquire about their Spring rates.

 

 

 





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10 thoughts on “One Last Messy Storm

  1. Todd

    Ive had 3 different groups go to whisper ridge and all have reported less than stellar reports of the operation and terrain. Supposedly they only have a small area they take you to and you are crossing tracks on low angle short runs. And everything is broken…. No water, no showers and hot tubs are broken. This is what I have been hearing. When you here same thing from 3 different groups from 3 differenet times you have to start to believe the hype is not real.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      Interesting. Haven’t heard that but I’m wondering if this harsh winter is keeping some of the better terrain closed. Powder Mountain has had trouble keeping an in-bounds resort open and safe.

  2. cache valley skier

    Elevation is your friend, indeed. Unfortunately elevation is in very short supply at Whisper Ridge. The high point is only around 8300′, and at least half of the operating area is under 7,000′.

    A while back I played around with the DEM shading feature in CalTopo to analyze the Whisper Ridge terrain. See attached, where the blue shaded area is the operating area boundary, and the red areas indicate slopes above 7500′, facing anywhere on the north half of the compass (from due east to due west), with any slope angle between 25 and 45 degrees. These are subjective parameters, but based on many years of ski touring in the Bear River Range, I would consider these the absolute minimum requirements for consistently good skiing throughout the season, most seasons. In fact I’m probably being a little generous here.

    What we see is a handful of slopes scattered around that meet these standards, covering maybe 2% of the operating area (so roughly 600 acres). None of them have significant vertical drops; they are mostly a few hundred vertical feet or less. And from experience in this part of the range, I can promise you that there is plenty of thick vegetation reducing the amount of skiable terrain even further. So you’re left with a patchwork of tiny skiable slopes, that added up total roughly the size of Cherry Peak Resort. And interestingly the philosophy seems to be about the same… both feature low elevation, scrubby skiing on private land, with an over-abundance of hype and very little to back it up, surrounded by much bigger and better things that you can hike to in an hour or two.

    As for the ‘better terrain’ being closed – what people are experiencing at Whisper Ridge IS the ‘better terrain’. That’s all there is. This has been an anomalously good year for foothill skiing through the sagebrush in Cache Valley, but it’s just not a sustainable business model.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e70e58c95a3d1888febf8f9efeea0234dec02c9ed18a28c89d9c64edce52f5c8.jpg

    1. Todd

      thats a great map analysis. Kinda proves the lack of high elevation high angle skiing options. A buddy clocked his day at Whisper Ridge of 10 runs of each around 800 vertical. Which totals about 8000 vertical feet in the day. This compared to a resort powder day where you can ski 8000 feet in about an hour and a half…. or about 4-6 runs….and assuming you have a season pass its “free” as opposed to $500+. But I get the appeal to ski fresh pow and maybe this is better suited for the ones that dont live here and do not have the option to choose their ski days. But for now, I wont be rushing to WR. Thankfully I cancelled my reservation to ski with some out of town friends that booked a 2 day trip there.

  3. Poster Nutbag

    how common is it for warm systems like this to hit utah midwinter? i’m a recent transplant from the east coast, so i know all about the freeze/thaw cycles that happen out there, and curious how often they occur here.

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