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SnoCast: Excellent Conditions and Snow for the Christmas Holiday

SaddlebackME_tw_122221 Bursts of snow and fresh conditions at Saddleback Mountain in Maine on Wednesday. We'll see light snow leading up to Christmas in Maine (Saddleback Mountain/Twitter)

Weather is ideal leading into the Christmas holiday stretch with seasonably chilly temps and bursts of snow for the East, and a widespread mountain snow for the West. Let’s dig into the details in this week’s SnoCast.


A continued very active and snowy pattern continues across the West as a deep trough of low pressure digs in through the holiday weekend. Several rounds of snow will traverse the Western mountains from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, to the interior Rockies and the Southwest Thursday through early next week.  At least 3 distinct waves of snow will move through between Thursday (Dec. 23) and Tuesday (Dec. 28), delivering a widespread 1 to 3+ feet of snow for most western mountains, including the Cascades in Washington and Oregon, and the higher peaks of Utah and Colorado. The heaviest snow will fall in California’s Sierras with locally much higher totals of 3 to 6+ feet! Local National Weather Service forecasts in California indicate 100" or more at the ridge tops!

With snow possible almost every day in the upcoming week, pretty much all ski areas in the West are best bets. Get out to your favorite mountain and go for it. Just remember, this is a ton of snow in a short time, so be sure to check local safety, travel, and avalanche alerts before you plan for your trek to the slopes. 


Temperatures will gradually notch down with each round, delivering well below average temperatures to the West through the final week of December allowing the snow to stick around into the new year—exactly what this part of the country needs. Check out 'Looking Ahead' below for details on the cold. 



Great conditions lead up to the Christmas holiday for the northeast with seasonably chilly temperatures and bursts of snow in the forecast. Recent temperatures have also allowed for snowmaking at the higher mountains leading up to the Christmas holiday.

A quick passing snow burst moves from the northern Great Lakes through New York and southern New England late Thursday to early Friday, providing a quick 1-3” of new snow. A second quick system follows a similar path early Christmas morning, though may feature slightly warmer temps and a light mix of snow or sleet showers to parts of southern Quebec, northern New York, and northern New England.

We'll need to monitor Sunday's forecast closely. Computer models differ on what happens in the northeast to finish the holiday weekend. Some models paint a quick moving storm system developing off the southern New England coast with potential for a quick decent hit of snow and wintry mix, while others show minimal precipitation. We’ll need to keep an eye, not only for great post-holiday skiing potential but also holiday travel impacts.

While many will have a great week, with new snow some best bets will include Killington, Mount Snow, Pico, Gore Mountain, Hunter Mountain, and Berkshire East


Looking Ahead

Here's a glance at the overall temperature and precipitation pattern through next week, December 28 through January 1, 2022. In the West, the coldest air of the season will pour in, bringing a chill directly from the North Pole (thanks, Santa). You'll want to bundle up hitting the slopes in the days leading up to the New Year. In the East, some ups and downs in temperatures with an overall milder than average pattern sticking around until the start of 2022. 

Have a great holiday, and we'll see you next Thursday for a new SnoCast!

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