WEEK IN REVIEW
If you are a skier in love with the majestic mountains from the Grand Tetons to the northern Cascades, you are basking in some of the finest ski conditions of the winter. Over the last week, Jackson Hole, Wyo., claimed some of the most amazing ski conditions ever with another 50 inches. It's rare that Jackson Hole's total snowfall is higher than that of Grand Targhee (located just over the mountain range), but this year Jackson's had 442 inches of powder compared to Targhee's 364 inches. The reason? Persistent, moist easterly winds around cold high pressure moving in from Canada which creates "upslope snows." Oregon, Washington, Montana and Colorado received more heavy snow during the week with 32 inches at Mt. Hood; 60 inches at Mt. Baker (snowboarders paradise); 20 inches at Discovery Basin, Montana; 22 inches at Beaver Creek, CO.; 24 inches at Vail and 21 inches at Powderhorn. Utah got into the act with 14 inches falling at Alta, however, Park City only received 5 inches of snow. Their total winter snowfall is 154 inches, some 50 percent below Alta's. More snow is needed in Utah as well as in the Sierras where Mammoth, Heavenly, Tahoe and Kirkwood continue to see some sketchy conditions with below normal snowfall. Skiing in Idaho is quite good with Schweitzer recording about 180 inches of snow this winter.In Canada, Mt. Tremblant received 30 inches as storm systems moved into Quebec, as opposed to along the southern New England coastline, which was so persistent during most of the winter. Fernie received over 20 inches, while Red Mt. and Whistler saw anywhere from 3-8 inches but still suffer from snowfall amounts well below normal in most of B.C. Some nice snows finally arrived in Alberta with Lake Louise and Castle Mt. witnessing 10-15 inches of snow, some of the heaviest weekly snow amounts in weeks.In the east, Stowe, Smugglers' Notch and Jay Peak can claim some of the best ski conditions with 10-15 inches of new snow. Much of New England has seen temperatures oscillate from the 30's back to near record cold conditions. These freeze/thawing has created icier, scratchy conditions across most of the southern Adirondacks, Catskills, and southern and central Vermont and New Hampshire. However, greater than normal snowfall this winter means plenty of spring skiing ahead due to the average to above average bases. In Maine, Sunday River received 10 inches over the past 10 days. Their winter snowfall is 121 inches with adequate conditions.
THIS WEEK'S FORECAST
A major pattern change will bring some of the warmest weather of the season to much of the Rockies, Sierras and Cascades with freezing levels rising above 5,000-7,000 feet by mid week and beyond. Daytime high temps from Tahoe to Jackson Hole and most of Colorado could rise well into the 40's at the lower elevations. As a major storm heads toward British Columbia this week, heavy snows of 1-3 feet may pound the higher elevations. Whistler could see a foot of snow before the "Pineapple Express" brings temps into the 30's and lower 40's by mid-late week with heavy rain at the low and mid elevations. The blue you see on the first map represents very heavy precipitation, some of the heaviest since Christmas when over 60 inches fell in a week.
The second map, valid for March 18, represents the winds at 18,000 feet. The "u" shaped jet-stream and x's (storms) you see over California, Nevada and British Columbia suggest these areas will have the best chance for heavy snowfall heading into mid-late March. These storm systems will remain off the British Columbia coast into next week and could bring significant snows above 5,000-6,000 feet to the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and eventually the Sierra/Tahoe area by early next week. Freezing levels may lower enough in B.C./Alberta that significant snows will fall next week. Snowfall will be below normal this week across most of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming with above normal temps. But ski condiitions will continue to be outstanding, especially in Colorado and Wyoming where tremendous snows have fallen the last few weeks. Even Taos, New Mexico is seeing some great skiing after they recorded 60 inches a couple weeks ago. That's close to half their normal total winter snowfall.
In New England, several Alberta Clippers will result in at least 2-5 inches of snow across most of Vermont and New Hampshire by the end of the week. Snowmaking is in full force and ski conditions will be good in northern New England. Southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic States will see some mid-late week rain and a warming trend. However, incredible mid-late season snow bases should mean fair-to-good skiing well through March as far south as Snowshoe, West Virginia.
If you happen to be a little bit of a dare devil and like to hike, head to Mt. Washington's Tuckerman's Ravine later in March and April, the conditions should be great.
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