Deep Freeze

A cold front will finally move through Northern Utah late tomorrow (Tuesday). Now it won’t actually be a “Deep Freeze” by climatological standards, but for this season it will sure seem like it. We’ll have some of our first “below normal” days in months. Unfortunately, because of the big warmup today and Tuesday ahead of the front, the sudden drop of temperatures (and refreeze) will likely create some pretty terrible ski conditions. And it doesn’t look like there will be enough moisture or lift to produce any substantial snowfall. At “best” we’ll maybe get a little dust on crust action. The skiing should improve in time for the weekend, though, as we warm back up and return to spring skiing conditions.

Mid-Week Cool Off

The warm, dry weather will continue through Tuesday.  The storm that Matt mentioned for Tuesday now looks to see its presence felt on Wednesday morning.  Unfortunately it still looks like we will be lucky to get  a few inches out of it.  A decent cold front will roll through as well on Wednesday morning, bring temperatures near or below average for this time of year.  This pattern doesn’t really please anybody I guess.  If it isn’t gonna snow it might as well be 70 degrees.  

Uncertainty is high with this, but the current GFS run has another weak front coming into Utah on Thursday with a higher likelihood of accumulating snow.  Freezing level would be quite low. Don’t bank on it right now though.  

Short-Lived Snowfall

As promised, the Wasatch got a little coating of snow to freshen things up! The relatively high density of the new snow helped keep skis from hitting the crusty bottom too badly, and from what I hear there were some good turns to be had out there.

I hope you all got to enjoy it, though, because we are going to be shifting right back into our default setting for this winter: warm, dry, and sunny. The warming trend is underway, and highs on Saturday will be in the 50s at most mid-mountain locations. This will be the day to bust out the shorts and t-shirts if you go up. Sunday will be slightly cooler with some clouds around, so Saturday will be the best day to ski.

There is a chance next week that we will get clipped by a few storms passing to our north, but temperatures will remain warm, and I don’t see these producing much in the way of snow. I wouldn’t count on too much more snow to close out the month of March. With that said you may want to ski a fair amount these next few weeks, because unless the pattern changes drastically, the snow may not be sticking around too much longer on the sunnier slopes.

Storm has begun

So far so good on the current storm. By 9:30 Monday morning there have been 3 inches of snow reported in the Cottonwoods with a snow level around 7500′.  Other areas have gotten a trace-2 inches.  Snow will continue for most of the day today before tapering off in the evening.  After a break, another weak trough will push into Northern Utah Tuesday afternoon and evening.  Freezing levels will be between 6000-6500′ for the most part. Including what has fallen so far, it is looking like most areas will see 3-8 inches by Wednesday morning.  High elevations, particularly in the Cottonwoods, will see 6-12″.  

If you want to ski, you might want to make plans for Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.  You better take advantage of it, because it looks like we will be high and dry the rest of the week with May-like temps returning.

A storm, if you can call it that

I went for a run in the foothills this morning, and I took a completely snow-free route that I did in May 2014, when I was dodging snow patches. What is already the warmest winter on record at Salt Lake City continues to become more and more of an outlier…at least we can say we’ve all now witnessed a truly extraordinary weather event, right? I’ll take that as a consolation prize for surviving this ski season.

The weather will be warm and gorgeous again tomorrow (Saturday), with mostly sunny skies and lights winds. Sunday will be slightly cooler, with a few clouds around, so I’m gonna call Saturday the best day to ski. It looks like we’ll get brushed by a “storm” beginning late Monday and lasting into Wednesday, but don’t hold your breath on this one. There is a decent chance that most of the lift and moisture associated with the shortwave troughs will stay to our north, leaving us with nothing but a dusting. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the details as it gets closer. Unless this storm starts to look particularly juicy (which I don’t anticipate), the best skiing in the next 5 days will be Saturday…temps will cool down on Monday and things will be pretty icy.

The long range looks great of you love sun and warmth! Not so much if you still want to be skiing in a month. Confidence is fairly high that beginning late next week we will be very warm once again. I don’t know about you, but I plan to bust out the spring skiing costume fairly soon…if you see a giraffe skiing in the Cottonwoods, come say hi!

Breaking Records

We’re breaking records, on pace to break more, and unfortunately they’re not the kind of records we want to be breaking. I’m talking record highs earlier this week & last weekend. Alta and several other regional observing sites are also on pace for a record low snowfall season. Does this mean that those records will be broken? Not necessarily…it’s still too early to say, but unless things pick up big time this one could go down in the record books.

The forecast for the next week or so continues to look bleak for the Wasatch. The streak of above average temperatures looks to continue through the weekend. Fortunately, though, it looks like we’ll at least “cool” down a bit and maybe get into a good corn cycle. A trough looks to move across the region around Tuesday, but models are consistently showing a “brush by” to the north with not much in the way of precipitation for the Wasatch. The GFS and some Ensembles, however, are showing a much different evolution with the trough (strongly influenced by less predictable, at least the far out, shortwave troughs).The EC and Ensembles show next to nill. I’m not optimistic, but it’s all we got. On the bright side, it’s been nice busting out the shorts in March!

A lovely May weekend

Not much to add to what Trey said yesterday; it’s gonna be downright toasty this weekend, and no doubt the warm weather activities will be calling to all of us. I’m gonna go up and do a little skiing though, and I’ve got a nice little multi-sport weekend put together. I’m thinking skiing for at least a half day, hopefully a little rock climbing outside, and a trail run in the foothills. It’s that time of year!

As for the forecast specifics, Saturday will be even warmer than today, with Sunday even warmer than Saturday. Skies will be bluebird on Saturday, with some high clouds moving through on Sunday. Temperatures will likely top 50 degrees at most mid-moiuntain sites on Sunday, so this would be a great occasion to bust out your spring skiing outfit. USW forecaster Jeff Massey is extremely white and prone to sunburn, so I’m excited to see how bad his goggle burn will be in the office on Monday.

Extremely warm temps will continue into early next week. The models are depicting a weak, elongated area of clouds and precipitation setting up over the Great Basin in the mid-week timeframe. This would cool things down a tad, but it likely wouldn’t produce more than a few showers.

Desert Season

I’ve all but given up on what has been about as bad of a winter as it gets in the Wasatch. Oh how things change! Just 3 years ago I was fresh out of the swamps of Louisiana & didn’t even know how to ski. In my short time here I’ve already become a Utah powder snob (and said I never would ha!). Seriously, though, I am grateful for the snow that we have gotten. Even though this season is statisitcally almost as bad as it can get in Nrn Utah, we’ve still had plenty of good days and can still ski most terrain. Those out in California can’t say the same! On to the forecast… 

Looks like we got a couple inches to freshen the groomers up a little. Haven’t been up to ski since last week, but I’m sure off trail riding is “moguled out” and will likely remain that way at least through next week. In the wake of this weak system it will get down right HOT for March standards this weekend…aka Desert Season is here. Should be a great weekend for making a trip down south for some biking, climbing, camping, etc. Or if you plan to hang around Salt Lake bust out the jorts for some spring skiing!

Through early week I don’t really see any opportunities for precipitation. By mid-week the models diverge and indicate at least some low end chances of precipitation. The European Ensembles continue to be aggressive in the 7-10 day range, so hopefully other models will trend in that direction.

A little snow then warm again

After another warm, dry day Wednesday a weak trough will move into Utah from the west.  Snow will begin early Thursday morning and last through the afternoon.  Accumulations will be moderate, with 3-7 inches in the Upper Cottonwoods and 2-4 elsewhere.  A ridge will rapidly build back in for Friday.  Temperatures will then warm through the weekend with very warm conditions by Sunday.  Freezing levels with this storm will be about 7000′, so watch out for rain unless you are in the Cottonwoods or up at Beaver.  While the skiing could be reasonable on Thursday, bring the sunscreen and spring wax if you want to go on Sunday.  Could be a lot of mush out there.

Early next week Utah will be under a fairly strange upper-level pattern that has some potential to produce snow out of some sort of weak frontal band, but is too uncertain to call yet.  The Euro model ensemble seems to like it, and that is always a good sign.  

Remember, the resorts (particularly the Cottonwoods) can get a lot of snow in March and April.  Don’t give up just yet!

A Good Looking Storm Tomorrow!

Morning Update: things continue to look really good for this storm this morning, so I’m gonna go ahead and up my forecast to 10-20 inches for the Cottonwoods by Wednesday morning. The forecast for the rest of the Wasatch still looks to be on track.


It looks like this weekend’s (Sat-Sun) storm totals were generally in the 4-6″ range in the Cottonwoods and PC resorts, with 2-4″ in other areas like Snowbasin and PowMow. So not a huge storm, but the snow was skiing pretty well up at Snowbird today.

Now on to the exciting stuff: we have a very good looking storm on tap for tomorrow and Tuesday. The models have been consistent in depicting a one-two punch of compact shortwave troughs moving through Utah, with moist west-northwesterly flow in the intervening periods, and cold temperatures aloft. The models have been equally consistent in producing pretty good amounts of precipitation. All of these ingrendients are very encouraging if you are a Wasatch skier.  I’m gonna go for 8-16 inches in the Cottonwoods, with 6-12″ in the PC area and northern Wasatch by the time the snow winds down Tuesday evening. To get you even more excited, snow densities will likely be very low with the cold atmospheric temps, so I’m expecting blower powder. You may want to consider taking a day off to ski the goodness that is going to be falling.

There is a brief window for lake-effect snow early Tuesday, but with shifting wind direction and inherently low predictability of lake-effect, I’m just gonna mention it as a possibility. Even if the lake does kick in, I don’t expect it to be much of an event anyway.

Long range: after snow showers taper off Tuesday night, we come back under the influence of a ridge of high pressure for the remainder of the week. The position of the ridge to our west, however, will allow some storms to brush by us. These would potentially bring clouds and a couple snow showers. Temps will remain on the cool side and the warmup will be modest compared to the temps we got used to in February.