Here’s how it happened: Strong Westerly Flow and very cold air aloft form orographic dumpage (We call it Orographic Lift in meteorology terms) over Mount Werner (Steamboat)! I have followed the patterns there for 30 years and the really big days almost always equate to Westerly Flow as well as a sharp drop in temperatures! These orographic large events almost always sneak up when least expected so the for the lucky ones that were there I am sure your powder dreams will be good tonight! These cold air events also coined the phrase “Champagne Powder” for Steamboat and often there will be 4-5 inches at the base and 20-30 inches at mid mountain!
Next Storm Cycle: The next storm cycle will create the highest AVY danger of the year for many spots including the Northwest, Tetons, and perhaps sections of Northern ID and MT. Strong winds and a 3-4 day period of wet snow will begin in Northern Idaho, Montana in earnest Tuesday into Wednesday. The Tetons and Wasatch are currently seeing light to moderate snow that will continue through Friday! (12-18 inches in the Tetons, 9-12 in the Wasatch, 4-10-Northern Colorado through the period). A cold front will move over Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado Wednesday night making Thursday my pick of the week for the Rockies! The Chase might include the Tetons, Wasatch or areas along or North of I-70 (Thursday).
The Northwest will be hammered with rain up to 7,000 feet in the next 3 days (2-5 inches of rain), creating extreme AVY danger on the 2-3 feet of snow that fell there last weekend. The good news is that temperatures cool down by the weekend with another moderate to heavy snow event is likely with very low snow levels!
Extended Powder: Right now there is a high likelihood of a decent cold storm rolling through most of the central and Northern Rockies Saturday through Monday so those will be definite chase days and will warrant a Powder Alert as we get closer. This could be an epic snow producer!
Daily Updates are posted only on the website so enjoy this flip flop from fluff to dense, to rain, to eventually lead to light powder later in the week and this weekend!! We finally see a storm over the Sierra around the 2nd or 3rd day of March so dont give up all hope just yet!
Here is a video that Blake Funston posted for Powderchasers and lucky to be one of the early birds at Beaver Creek Today after leaving Boulder at 5 AM. He got the goods!