One of the most impressive storm systems in years is already making its impact felt along the Pacific Coast. The National Weather Service has issued just about every kind of warning it can issue, from high surf and wind to blizzards. Places in Washington State have already totaled up 10 inches of water. Too bad it was just that- water. At that particular station what snow was present has now been washed away. And that is only 1000 feet below treeline! Not great for skiing, although the storm will finish with lower snow levels.
As the previous post mentioned, it would be great if the Sierra Nevada didn’t exist right now. They will doing their best to remove moisture from the air these next few days. That’s fine. California needs it much more than we do. Utah is most likely to get snow between Friday evening and Sunday morning as the Pacific trough passes over us. The biggest variable in my mind for snow amounts is how long the moist northwesterly flow behind the trough lasts. It is during this post-trough NW flow that the Cottonwood Canyons can really get it. Looking at the GFS and EC I think something around 7-14 inches is possible in the upper Cottonwoods, with 4-9 elsewhere. That 14 is a little bit on a limb, but I think the potential is there due to the cool, moist NW flow. The storm should be all snow at the resorts, with the bottom of Snowbasin and Sundance being the only possible exceptions Friday night.
Right now it looks to me like Saturday will be the better day to ski, but I say that with low confidence. Never turn your back on a model indicating moist northwest flow.
The long range doesn’t look great with split flow dominating.