Great pre-holiday snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area, which will end up with more snow leading into the holiday weekend (Rosanne H. Pitcher/Wolf Creek Ski Area)
The holidays are here! Gifts under the tree are cool and all, but look for the real gifts on the slopes this holiday weekend. Let’s dig into this week’s forecast and find out where the best conditions will be for hitting the slopes.
It will be an active stretch for the West, and a solid combo of pleasant days and snow shots for the Midwest and Northeast. Here’s what to expect by region and a few of my "best bet" picks for the areas receiving good snow this week.
Northeast: A weak system will bring a shot of light snow Thursday to New York’s Adirondacks and northern New England. While not a blockbuster, a few inches of snow can be expected at the higher elevations and make for nice, softer conditions. Another similar system may bring snow Saturday/Christmas Eve to the same locales before temps start generally rising Christmas Day through early next week. Some sun should break through on Christmas Day, providing pleasant conditions at ski areas for the holiday weekend. Best bets: Look to Whiteface, Jay Peak, and Sunday River.
Midwest: Well, we’ve survived the cold snaps, and this week looks great to get out. A complicated set up for our Midwest mountains this week. After a quick shot of snow Wednesday, Thursday should be pleasant to hit the slopes and get what’s left of the softer snow. Thursday and Friday, a brief lull before things get interesting. Weather models continue to show a strong storm developing around Christmas Day through Monday. Keep an eye on this one. Could mean snow, but also some mixed precip (like ice), high winds, and travel hazards.
Canada: Some fresh snow for western Canada Thursday will help add onto the snow we received earlier in the week. Some light, lingering snow showers in interior B.C and Alberta will carry us into the weekend with generally light totals. Watch for a more potent storm early next week Tuesday/Wednesday time frame which may bring more impressive totals to the coast range in British Columbia. In eastern Canada, low pressure tracks through Quebec to start the holiday weekend with light totals, and overall pleasant conditions for the Christmas holiday weekend.
West: A quick hit of snow for western Colorado Thursday into early Friday will help soften up the slopes with some fresh inches of snow. Given the moisture flow in from the Southwest, the San Juan Range in southwest Colorado could pick up some decent totals around 6-12”. A larger storm system will develop Friday off the Pacific coast, and plow into northern California/Oregon. The highest totals from this storm will be in the California Sierra Nevada with potential for 1-2 feet, maybe some three foot totals at localized peaks (yaa!) through Saturday. Snow will also fall for the higher elevations of the Washington and Oregon Cascades as snow levels lower Friday night. That storm system will then spread eastward, carrying in some new snow for much of the western interior mountains through the holiday weekend. Look for new snow over the mountains in Idaho , Wyoming , Colorado, and Montana through this holiday weekend. There are a ton of winter weather alerts in place from the National Weather Service. Best bets: While many mountains will be great, some of the highest totals should fall at Telluride, Purgatory, and Wolf Creek Thursday and early Friday. Then, any Tahoe area mountain and Mammoth Mountain should have snow dumping on Saturday.
Here's the snowfall forecast graphic from the National Weather Service but only through Friday evening. Many areas (text details above) will pick up more through the holiday weekend. Enjoy!
Finally, as always, a huge THANKS to the Lyndon State College students Christopher Kurdek, Amanda Stone, and Scott Myerson for their weekly contribution to the SnoCast content and forecasts. You guys rock! Also a special thanks to LSC professor Jason Shafer.
'Til next week's SnoCast, have a safe and happy holiday, all!