Waiting…

Current Webcam from Snowbird.com showing some fat flakes falling.

TL;DR: Currently snowing in the Cottonwoods with an inch or two picked up since yesterday. Continued NW flow until a quick warmup Thursday into Friday before this weekend’s storm moves in with moderate-significant accumulation possible through Presidents’ Day.

Short-Term: It’s been a cloudy and snowy Wednesday with moisture and some instability within the 700-800mb levels. Clouds and associated light snow should persist through Thursday morning before clearing leaving us with what looks to be a perfect afternoon and Friday morning. Temperatures should remain comfortable up on the hill and winds shouldn’t be an issue until Friday night.

WRF-NMM via Tropical Tidbits through Friday afternoon showing warming and clearing at crest-height associated with the passing upper-level shortwave ridge through Thursday and Friday morning before things start to get interesting.

Long-Term: Lots of uncertainty in the timing and amounts associated with this weekend’s storm so I really won’t even go into it. I’ll leave that to the succeeding forecasters that will have a better shot at nailing down the details. Something to keep in mind as you’re planning for this weekend is the IKON blackout dates associated with the holiday.

NAEFS giving an idea of what we can expect through Monday. Spread is pretty wide in what models are giving us right now, but nonetheless, something to look forward to as we get closer.
The SREF from weather.utah.edu only just starting to pick up the time frame of the incoming storm system, timing from various members are varying greatly so far. Forecasting what will come for Monday should start to become more transparent on Friday.
Center for Western Weather and Water extremes NCEP GFS vertical transport lining us up for a wet weekend along most of the North-Western quadrant of the U.S..

Thanks for reading, enjoy the skiing.

-Trent S. Parker

Upside-Down Monday Morning Mess

TL;DR: Starting very early Monday morning, a potent valley storm will track through. University classes are cancelled for Monday morning as accumulations will look to pile up to 6-12 inches in the Salt Lake Valley and up in the Cottonwoods, with an extra half foot possible on the benches. Not a blockbuster storm for the high resorts, but mid-mountain and bench activities will be fun to get after tomorrow morning!

Current radar image from the NWS showing a large band of precipitation working its way across the Great Salt Lake. Look for this band to start making its presence known around shortly around midight local time before ramping up.

Short Term: After a pretty moody and windy day up on the hill, we’ve flipped around quite a bit and are back below freezing up at elevation. All that wind today was transporting whatever snow hadn’t been melted down and there were some spots where the wind buff was skiing great. There were other spots where the sun had baked it yesterday and resulted in alot of catchy dense crud once the sun went into hiding. With the unique dynamics behind this storm ahead, it is looking to be one where most of the snow will fall out before it gets up to the alpine. A great setup if you’re looking to sled some hills in town or build some run ins for urban features. After this storm, that should last the majority of the day into the evening Monday, conditions look to clear up for Tuesday probably leading to bluebird champagne conditions.

GFS .25 degree time height for Salt Lake City showing a ton of rich low-level moisture and extremely cold air for such a storm. Courtesy of weather.utah.edu
NAEFS at SLC Courtesy of weather.utah.edu. Showing a meager 3-5 inches.
Courtesy of weather.utah.edu. SREF members at the airport playing a much larger range of possibilities with much higher amounts which is what we should expect.
Courtesy of weather.utah.edu
The SREF in agreement with the NAEFS at Alta Collins going for just as much as in the HRRR and SREF @ Salt Lake Intl. Airport. Courtesy of weather.utah.edu
The HRRR total precip. through tomorrow at noon. Around .75 to 1 inch of water at ~15:1 SLR puts Salt Lake Valley close to a foot from this model. Notice the serious shadowing effect on the Wasatch back, however. Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Long Term: Our next storm looks to be in the works for later this week. More details to follow, model spreads are certainly in disagreement currently.

Sorry for the short post. It was a long day at my jobs. Thanks for reading! Go skiing.

-Trent S. Parker

Even When It’s “Bad”, It’s Good.

TL;DR: Although we haven’t been spoiled with the persistent dumpage that we saw last week; weak dynamics, persistent NW flow, and moisture moving through our current ridge have kept snow falling at the resorts. While conditions at lower elevations have been downright DREARY recently, it’s hard to get too down when you look at what has been going on upstairs. Cloud cover and modest accumulations have kept surfaces fresh and shaded from intense periods of sun. Base depths continue to bolster as we look forward to a quick-hitting system for the start of this weekend in Northern Utah. More events on the horizon for the beginning and middle of next week. Seasonal snow totals are fast encroaching that of the starved 2017-2018 winter and we’re really only halfway through.

Racing past the 300″ mark recently with over 100″ of it settled at the upper elevations of Little Cottonwood. Nearby neighbors aren’t too far behind with BCC around 80″ of base depth. Taken from snowbird.com.

Short Term: Those looking to get out tomorrow during the day will likely be greeted to overcast skies, mild temperatures, and winds out of the southwest. A fast-moving and frugal storm is on our heels and will be racing through the Great Basin and into Northern Utah starting Friday afternoon. Keep this in mind while planning your departure time from the slopes tomorrow. While accumulations from this feature aren’t enough for a truly deep-blower day, the snow will fall heavy within a short period. Night sliding on Friday should be quite fun and Saturday morning’s pilgrimage (subject to avalanche control) should run relatively smoothly as far as things currently look. Snowfall by Saturday morning is expected to be within the 3-6″ range with possibly more in your preferred Wasatch honeyhole.

Forecasted GFS meteogram for the Upper Cottonwoods through this coming weekend and following week courtesy of weather.utah.edu. Features to note: tomorrow’s quick couple inches as well as what looks to be a calm-beautiful day on Sunday before another storm rolls through Monday and hints at more in the midweek.

Long Term: We’ve got our eyes set on a clearing day Saturday through Sunday before another (slightly more impactful) system moves in to refresh things for those looking to get after it on Monday. A prevalent holding pattern of low pressure systems hanging out in the Aleutians and Gulf of Alaska should continue to push streams of moisture onshore affecting much of the Western United States through the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading!

-Trent S. Parker

Train Kept a Rollin’ (all week long)

Brighton snow report from this morning, looking at 61″ in the last week alone, with more to come.

TL;DR: Recent heavy snow totals and more to come within the next couple days. A brief respite later in the day Wednesday and Thursday with an outlook for things to crank back up again by the end of this week. If you haven’t gotten out yet, don’t fret, the best may still be yet-to-come.

Roundhouse image from Solitude’s website showing not many people eating at the picnic tables but instead, getting after it with light lift-lines and fresh falling snow.

Short Term: The current status is SNOW and lots of it, as it has been, and as it will continue to be. Whether you’re looking out your window in Salt Lake or at webcams (skiing and riding if you’re lucky enough) up in the Wasatch, snow is falling and this is only the start of the shortwave feature set to really kick in later tonight through Tuesday morning. It wouldn’t be a surprise to end up skiing tomorrow morning on a fresh 8-14+ inch 24 hour total in Northern Utah with continuing free refills. 48-hour totals by Wednesday morning could easily encroach on the two foot mark at upper elevations in the Wasatch.

Current GFS tropospheric pressure from weather.utah.edu showing low tropospheric heights and associated systems. 1. where we currently sit 2. Tuesday continuation/storm 3. Friday’s proposed storm.
Time-height cross section for Salt Lake City from weather.utah.edu giving us 1. where we currently sit 2. Tuesday continuation/storm 3. Friday’s proposed storm.

Long Term: Wednesday and Thursday seem like they will be great days if you prefer decent visibility, calm winds and clear skies, and detest storm-riding the poop parade of powderhound traffic. Otherwise, pick your day. Call in sick. Do whatever you need to do and get up there because there’s another storm looking to roll in Friday and while details are still uncertain, we’re hoping it shapes up to be another best day ever yet AGAIN. Stay tuned to utahskiweather.com as this train keeps on rolling.

-Trent S. Parker

Cold Weekend Ahead

TL;DR: Single digit (F) and blustery ski day Saturday morning with a chance for a couple snow showers in the Wasatch through Sunday totaling 1-3 inches. The next chance for real precipitation comes Tuesday on the back end of a cutoff low that is set to impact south of Utah. If you have the chance to chase to (or are already there for the Holidays) Arizona, New Mexico, or SW Colorado, there should be some excellent snow.

SREF plumes courtesy of weather.utah.edu for Arizona Snowbowl north of Flagstaff. A sure sign of a deep day given how much snow they’ve gotten already recently. Many places around the 4 corners should see significant accumulation this weekend and into this coming week.

Short Term: The past couple days have treated skiers and riders well with our midweek storm that gave us a couple inches every day and held up snow totals as listed below.

“23 – Brian Head

“16 – Alta/Brighton

“9 – Snowbasin

Saturday morning in the Wasatch will be a cold one with temperatures in the single digits (F) and breezy NW winds ushering some snow showers through the day into Sunday. Total accumulations from this feature seem light, in the 1-3 inch range by Monday morning, and while it won’t be a blockbuster storm, every inch counts and the surface conditions should be excellent if you’re willing to brave the cold.

Long Term: Our next chance for real snow may be arriving for New Years day with no real estimates yet on how much it can produce for us.

GEFS spaghetti plots courtesy of ESRL.noaa.gov showing the progression and uncertainty of the track of this shortwave feature that develops into a cut-off low and passes to our south through NYE.
The GFS Integrated Vertical Transport shot helping indicate our next chance of snow starting New Years Day. Courtesy of the Center For Western Weather and Water Extremes and NOAA/NCEP.

There’s seemingly some more light at the end of the tunnel (a week + out) with ensembles showing a favorable setup for the first weekend of the New Year. Stay tuned as we should start to learn more about both the midweek and first-weekend features within the next couple days.

Cheers to new snow and enjoy the rest of the Holidays!

-Trent S. Parker

Return of The MAQ (Miserable Air Quality)

Current and trending Air Quality in Salt Lake showing a steady increase as we have trouble mixing out.

TL;DR: Breathing fumes in the valley, blue skies and intense sun in the alpine. Good snow still to be found in sheltered low angle terrain as well as fast and cold groomers on-resort. Pac NW is getting heaped on while we’ve been steered clear. Next chance for a storm comes into play Christmas Eve.

Short Term: It’s been about 3 days since our last system so, as expected, the pollution in the valley has been hanging around making the breathing outside in Salt Lake miserable. Temperatures this morning were inverted as I went out to walk around Mill D North. It was nice and cold. Temperatures in the high single digits at the trailhead and into the upper teens into the 20’s with calm winds by mid-morning on the ridgetop. The sun was shining bright and a nice lenticular set up over the Cardiff ridgeline.

Hyperlapse clouds over the BCC/LCC ridgeline this morning from the top of Mill D North.

Visibility was excellent in all directions and the snow on southern-related aspects was still cold enough to have some fast fun on low angle routes. The northern steep slopes are still generally out of question especially knowing how deep recent avalanches have been breaking. Looking over the Park City ridgeline was a spooky and trackless temptress, but one that certainly needs to be avoided if you value your safety, as we wait for time to heal this booboo.

Low angle sun-powder on my stroll this morning.

Warm advection aloft through tomorrow will help keep the pollution trapped in the valley and keep temperatures comfortable tomorrow for the opening day of Honeycomb Canyon at everyone’s new favorite Alterra home base. Winds were very light out of the northwest up at 9,500ft but they should start increasing through tomorrow as they back to the SW influenced by the trough impacting the Pacific Northwest.

Long Term: The influence of the ridge will persist through this weekend (our least snowiest one in a couple weeks) with our next chance of anything coming in, when Santa does, Tuesday through the Holiday. Confidence is growing, in both the Global Forecasting models and ECMWF, that this will be the first of three storms to impact Northern Utah before the start of 2020. The NAEFS plumes from the University of Utah are collectively showing means of about 12-18 inches of snow at Alta-Collins for Christmas, but with decent spread and this storm still being 5 days out, things can obviously change. Stay tuned to utahskiweather.com though, as we get closer to this active pattern for more definitive ranges on what we should be expecting next week. In the meantime, enjoy the weather up high and Happy Holidays!

ECMWF and GEFS 500mb heights going out to the New Year showing a couple chances for snow next week. Images courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

-Trent S. Parker

Weekend Warriors Rejoice

TL;DR: While we are currently in a holding pattern during the weekdays, another weekend refresher looks to move in starting Thursday and lasting through Saturday night bringing significant totals to the mountains of Northern Utah. While it isn’t a blockbuster for the entire state, we may end up with the best skiing and riding conditions of the season thus far, and we’re on track for a great month of holiday skiing regardless of any other storms in the long-term.

Short Term: We’re starting to encroach on that special time of year when the rock-skis (and boards) end up getting pushed into the back of the closet, and the bonafide powder-pounders come out to play. The snowpack depth and water equivalents across the state range from about-normal in Northern Utah, to well-above-normal in Southern Utah.

I’d be happy with even a half foot on top of what’s already there but it looks like this storm has bigger plans (which I have no disagreement with). The mountains of Northern Utah are currently under a winter storm warning as a result of the incoming system.

Winter storm warnings and advisories recently published for the majority of Northern into North-Central Utah through Saturday.

Starting tonight into Thursday, high clouds streaming out of the WNW (and maybe a flake or two) will start to impact visibility and the amount of sunlight we receive on the slopes before the snow starts to fall later in the day. Thursday’s temperatures at resort altitude should start out in the low to mid 20’s and rise to just about freezing before moderate snow begins. Friday morning’s canyon commute should be impacted by the quick 6-12 inches through Thursday night and I hope UPD will be at the mouths checking for traction. Light snow will probably hang around through the day Friday before the real moisture and low-pressure steams towards us, Friday night into Saturday.

SREF plumes from weather.utah.edu at the Alta-Collins location showing reasonable spread for a decent chunk of snowfall within Thursday night’s system. Friday night into Saturday is still a toss-up as far as numbers go but the synoptic setup leads me to believe we’re gonna get something good.
Integrated Vapor Transport out of the GFS showing a large plume of moisture that penetrates inland for Thursday with plenty more behind it.

Long Term: This weekend (as previously mentioned) should be a great one. Models are showing us under the influence of an upper-level ridge starting out at the beginning of next week which likely means blue skies and leftover powder starting Sunday. It’s too soon to peek at any storms succeeding this weekend, but as always, keep utahskiweather.com in mind as we’ll be staying on top of it all. Practice safe and smart driving, take the ski bus or carpool, and I’ll see you in the snow!

-Trent S. Parker

Smog Below, Thin Clouds and Wind Up High

TL;DR: High clouds and upper-level SW winds through Wednesday with a chance of some quick-moving snow showers totaling 1-2 inches for the mountains of Northern Utah, and 4-8 inches for Central and Southern Utahn mountains by Thursday afternoon.

Image courtesy of Snowbird, taken from the top of Hidden Peak overlooking LCC and the capped pollution in the Salt Lake Valley with wispy cirrus overhead on the evening of Dec. 3rd.

Short-Term: Hope everyone has had a great first weekend of resort skiing in Northern Utah! Aside from the traffic mishaps in the Cottonwoods on Friday (a lesson to be learned by UDOT), resorts were able to progressively open up terrain and though everyone and their mothers went up skiing, lift lines certainly diminished by Sunday afternoon and were nearly non-existent yesterday and today as the 9-5’ers got back to work (myself included). Looking ahead to tomorrow, it looks like it should be a great day in the mountains aside from some high level clouds and moderate ridgetop winds out of the SW associated with the next low pressure system off the Californian coast currently making its way inland. This system should bring 1-2 inches in the Northern Mountains and about a half-foot to Central and Southern high elevations through Thursday.

Clouds associated with the next approaching storm system which has dropped a quick chunk of snow in parts of the Sierras. This storm will mainly affect Southern and Central Utah through Thursday. Goes-17 true color image courtesy of https://weather.cod.edu/
700mb level temperatures and wind barbs courtesy of Tropical Tidbits. Note that we stay right around freezing with SW winds across much of the state until the storm rolls through.
NAM modeled precipitation reflectivity through the next couple days. Images courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Long-Term: The outlook beyond Thursday has started to show that we may see more storms by late this weekend. Models are currently hinting at a coastal low that will penetrate inland and bring stormy conditions and colder temperatures across Utah. Currently, there doesn’t look to be a ton of moisture associated with the timing of this storm and modeled snow totals aren’t totally in agreement with whether this will be a big dump or just another glancing blow. It is certainly something to look out for within the next couple days as another foot or more would ski excellent on top of what has already been dropped on us. Stay tuned as we’ll stay on top of it here at utahskiweather.com.

500mb normalized height anomaly through this coming weekend showing both Thursday’s storm as well as what may come through by Saturday or Sunday.

Thanks for reading, get out and enjoy our new 5 foot base! -Trent S. Parker