Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The weather pattern over the last two weeks has been one of a replenishment of snowin parts of British Columbia, Colorado and some other parts of the wester U.S., whilethe eastern U.S. has “melted” in some of the warmest weather of the winter.Even so, spring ski conditions at such places as Mt. Snow, Sunday River Maine,Sugarbush and Stowe, Vermont are adequate given the good early-mid seasonsnows and colder weather.
The blocking high pressure ridge which brought well below normal snowfall toUtah, the Sierras and Alaska most of this winter, began to break down inmid March. This resulted in the air not coming out of Canada, but out of thesouthwest. In response to this weather pattern change, occasional rain and warmerthan normal temperatures have aggravated what was pretty much a decent skiseason in New England throughout the Mid-Atlantic States.
The million dollar questions everyone is asking are A) Will there be a spring surprise in terms of apattern change and snow in the east?; B) Have the incredible snows in Colorado indicativeof the weather pattern for the rest of April? ; C) Is there any hope for Utah, the SierraNevada and parts of British Columbia and Alberta region to salvage what has been a sub-par ski season?
One thing that often happens following a cold winter in the east and a latewinter thaw, is continued “fickleness” of the New England weather pattern. You haveheard the old expression by Ben Franklin–“Some people are weatherwise but most are otherwise.”As soon as society feels they understand the weather and its whims, it can turn on a dime.There is proof to the axiom–“If you don’t like the weather just wait a minute, it will change.”Though this axiom has not held true for Utah and the Tahoe region.
FORECAST FOR THE NEXT 10 DAYS–
Though the Jackson Hole/G. Targhee area and much of the Pacific Northwest missed out on the hugeColorado storm of a week ago, this week will feature a nice pounding of at least 5-10 inchesfrom Mt. Baker, Crystal Mtn., Sun Valley to the Tetons.
The first map valid for Thursday illustrateslow pressure over central Wyoming. The solid dark green suggests where the heaviest snowwill be. The dashed blue lines suggest the freezing level below 5500 feet. One can also seethat most of Canada’s freezing level will be below this level minimizing the affect of warm Pacificmoisture that sometimes bring rain and sub-par ski conditions to British Columbia. The easternU.S., on the other hand, will continue to have warmer than normal temperatures with readingsreaching into the 60’s over much of New England Saturday and Sunday.
Because this is my last report for the winter, I wanted to include two more maps that will giveyou a “feel” of the early April weather pattern over much of the United States.
The second map is valid for this Saturday, March 30th. You will notice a huge low pressuresystem to the southeast of Alaska and north of British Columbia. As this system headssouth, above normal snowfall will be the rule at such areas as Panaroma, Whistler, Fernieand possibly into Alberta as well. With strong systems sliding from Alaska into thePacific Northwest and British Columbia, this is where I expect above normal snowfallto be as we head into early April. This is much different from the snow nemisis “PineappleExpress” that orginates over Hawaii and often brings heavy rains to this region.This map also shows a good chance for rain in the east this weekend with sub-parski conditions.
If you recall in my March issue of Let’sTalkSkiWeather written in late February, I discussedthe reasons why I expected an improvement in the western Canada and Pacific Northwest’ssnowfall. This last map depicts the jet-stream and winds at 18,000 feet valid for April 4th.The “X”s represent disturbances with at least normal of snow from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming to Colorado. The 522 “X” you see off the coast of British Columbia mean “lots of snow and colderthan normal weather through the first weekk of April from Oregon, Washington, Idaho intoAlberta and British Columbia. If you are planning a ski trip to Mt. Hood, Whistler, Mt. Baldy,Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, Fernie, Banff, Lake Louise or Sun Valley, these may be theplaces to be in early April with above normal snowfall expected. It would not surprise meif some areas in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest see 4-6 feet of snow over the next 10 days or so. Heli-skingwill be awesome in that region. Some of this moisture may move into snow-starved Utahand Tahoe, but most of the heaviest snow will again stay to the north of this region.
I do expect a return to colder than normal conditions in New England by April 1st withrains changing to 2-6 inches of snow by then across N. Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.The colder weather and possibility of one last Nor’easter around the 4th may allow foreastern skiers to dig out their skies for one last track on northern New England powderfrom Sugarbush and Mad River Glen to Smugglers’ Notch, Stowe, Jay Peak, Whiteface Mtn.Gore, Cannon Mtn, Waterville Valley and into Maine.
We would appreciate your comments about our weather forecasts and what you would liketo see for next year at firstname.lastname@example.orgIf you are interested in my unique ski-weather newsletter, please e-mail me. Continue to monitor this season’s snow at www.bestsnow.net