Layers will be key as you hit the slopes this week! With the right precautions, nothing can stop skiers and riders from getting the fresh snow at Jay Peak Resort where a quick hit of arctic cold air is followed by some fresh snow for the weekend. (Photo: Christopher Kurdek)
We are going to see some temp swings both in the East and West in this week’s outlook. From warm ups to January-like cold snaps, and snow in between, here’s the breakdown of the forecast in this week's SnoCast.
We’re in mid December, the holidays are coming right up, and the ski conditions look great. Last winter was (not so fondly) "the winter that wasn't" for a lot of the East, no thanks to very warm temps. This year...much better! About 40 percent of the U.S. has snow on the ground, and nearly 100 percent of Canada. Compared to this time last year, many ski resorts are happy leading into the holidays.
This week's outlook (Dec. 14-19) is quite a different story. Unlike last year with warm temps, we are in for some really chilly snaps that will have you digging for the layers before hitting the slopes in some areas. Oh, and snow, too. Here's what to expect by region.
Northeast: It seems we keep getting hit after hit of snow in the Northeast. While each system is generally small and quick moving, it has helped generate good early season skiing and riding. It’s going to be brutally cold (like, lots of layers and frequent 'pop-ins to the lodge’ cold) to finish this week. Most ski areas will have temps below zero in the mornings in New York and New England, and daytime highs in the single digits Friday. That arctic chill breaks a bit for the weekend, though, as a system moves through the Great Lakes. Expect a few inches of fresh snow on the mountains Saturday. Get out early before milder temps build back in through the day (and maybe a little mixed precip). The numbers below show the GFS model output, but do not account for any melting after as temps climb Saturday-Sunday. Look for another quick cold snap behind that system for early next week.
MidWest:A forecast with “book-end” arctic air for our Midwest ski areas this week. Bone-chilling mornings and mid-winter like days finish this work week. Look for a small shot of natural snow later Friday night into Saturday as a quick moving system drops a few inches of snow. That system pulls in yet another taste of arctic air to follow for early next week. One word: layers.
West: Western ski areas may also have some temperature swings to deal with this week. A storm system moving through northern California has tons of moisture with it Wednesday-Thursday (Dec. 14-15), but snow levels will be very high as warmer air comes in from the Pacific. As that system pushes inward, there will be enough cold air to get snow over Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming mountains Thursday and lingering into the start of the weekend. Look for the highest amounts, a foot or more, over the Wasatch of Utah and the Wyoming Wind River and Teton Ranges. Get out Friday for best conditions, since bitter cold air pours in by the weekend for a lot of the interior west mountains. Another quick shot of snow comes into the Pacific Northwest (Washington/Oregon Cascades) Sunday with a few more inches.
Canada: Certainly enough cold air to go around now. Very cold, arctic air will dip through eastern Canada finishing this work week. Another pocket of cold, arctic air also swings through central Canada over the weekend. So, where’s the snow? The storm system mentioned in the Northeast section will deliver several inches of snow for ski areas in Ontario and Quebec Saturday. There will be plenty of time to make snow for ski areas with ample cold in place. Look for deeper moisture over British Columbia, the coastal range and Rockies by the end of the weekend and especially early next week. This will likely bring big accumulation over several days, really picking up intensity sometime mid next week. We’ll be talking about that in next week’s SnoCast.
That's all 'til next week's SnoCast.
Special thanks to Lyndon State College students Amanda Stone, Chris Kurdek, and Scott Myerson for weekly contributions and forecasts.