Pow Alert: The Niño roars back into California

Pow Alert: The Niño roars back into California

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A high-pressure ridge has plagued the West with warm temperatures and little moisture over the past week, but the pattern is changing. Modest snowfall is in the forecast for much of the country, while California is in store for a monster dump.

Please note: All snow total predictions are sourced from OpenSnow.com and reflect the 5 day snow total predictions for this week.


After an unseasonably warm stretch, snow returns to the Sierra Nevada this week. The heaviest precipitation will occur on Wednesday night, ceasing on Thursday morning. Tahoe resorts like Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sugar Bowl are looking at 17 to 21 inches of freshies. In the Eastern Sierra, Mammoth is expecting 12 to 19 inches in that period.

Oregon and Washington

Oregon will get in on the action this week. The first storm will be chock full of warm air on Wednesday (snow levels at about 5,500 feet), producing 1 to 2 inches of snow at higher elevations. However, the air will cool and snow levels will drop into the 2,000-foot range as we move into the latter stages of the week. Through Friday night, Mount Hood Meadows is looking at a projected 7 to 15 inches of snow.

The snow levels in Washington should mirror that of Oregon. From Wednesday night through Saturday morning, Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass are projected to receive 7 to 17 inches of snow, while Mt. Baker is looking at 15 to 32 inches.

Alberta and British Columbia

It’ll be mostly dry for Alberta this week, although Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Marmot Basin are all expecting 1 to 2 inches on Thursday.

Whistler Blackcomb, in British Columbia, will continue its strong season this week. Freezing levels will start at above 5,000 feet on Wednesday, but drop to around 4,000 feet by Friday. From Wednesday through Saturday, 18 to 38 inches of snow could fall (at the highest elevations) in Whistler. Further inland, resorts like Revelstoke and Red Mountain are looking at 7 to 15 inches through Friday night. For reference, Wiley Miller displays how good conditions have been at Revelstoke in the below photo from last week’s Red Bull Cold Rush event.

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Wiley Miller at the 2016 Red Bull Cold Rush. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Idaho, Montana and Wyoming

Snow will blanket Idaho on Thursday and Friday, with Schweitzer expecting 5 to 11 inches by Friday evening and Sun Valley looking at 6 to 11.

Light snow will fall on Montana on Thursday and Friday. Big Sky is forecasted to receive 1 to 4 inches, while Whitefish is expecting 3 to 7 inches.

In Wyoming, the storm will hit on Wednesday night and OpenSnow is predicting 8 to 15 inches of snow for Jackson Hole by Thursday night.

Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

Thursday will be snowy for Colorado. The storm will favor the central and northern mountains, with Vail, Winter Park, Steamboat, Aspen, Monarch, Crested Butte, Loveland, etc. all expected to receive 4 to 6 inches throughout the day.

It’ll be a similar week for Utah, as the storm on Wednesday night and Thursday should produce 4 to 7 inches at Snowbird and Alta.

New Mexico will continue its streak of sunny, bluebird days this week.

That's right pow lovers, 10 inches of new snow for #PresidentsDay! #BreckSnow

A photo posted by Breckenridge Ski Resort (@breckenridgemtn) on

New England

Light snow will grace Vermont this week. One to 2 inches is expected for Jay Peak on Wednesday night. Then, on Friday evening, another storm will hit the state, producing 2 to 5 inches at Jay, Bolton Valley, Okemo, Mount Snow, Stowe and Stratton.

The same storm hitting Vermont later this week will prove beneficial for New Hampshire, arriving on Friday evening. Three to 6 inches is expected for Attitash, Cranmore, Loon and Waterville Valley.

This same system will affect Maine, dropping 2 to 6 inches at Sunday River and Sugarloaf through Saturday afternoon.

New York (not New England) should have high snow totals by Wednesday morning, with 7 to 10 inches predicted for Holiday Valley, HoliMont and Kissing Bridge.

Related: Monarch Snowcat Guides: First tracks on the road less traveled

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