2012- 2013 Powder Forecast: End of Season Powder Alert

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 25, 2012 3:40 am

Thanks everyone for your support in the ultimate challenge to grab the deepest snow as the 2012 Powder Alerts officially comes to a close!   This year has ended on a predicted track of LA Nina dumping huge amounts of powder over the Central Cascades (550 inches at Crystal Mountain), and especially Valdez Alaska who saw very heavy dumpage all winter! The surprise of 2012 was how much snow fell over the Southern Rockies such as Arizona, New Mexico,  Southern Colorado (Wolf Creek logged over 350 inches this season), and completely missed central Colorado but still managed to dump decent amounts over Eldora near the front range. Steamboat in Northern Colorado managed to log their all time overnight snowfall total of 27 inches (Fresh Deep Morning that I missed).  

The Sierra went completely dry early this season only to make a quick comeback in February and March where conditions at most Lake Resorts were epic towards the end of the season.  In fact more snow is on the way for the Sierra this Thursday even at Lake Level but don’t expect anything epic with the warm temperatures this week but 5-9 inches of powder will be waiting at upper elevations.

What will happen next season?  Where should I start booking my next years flights? Can I come out of powder depression from 2011-2012? 

Right now the climate prediction center as well as some loyal NOAA folks that I consult with have fairly normal amounts of snowfall for many areas next season. La Nina will migrate to a medium El Nino which brings more moisture to the Central California Coast, Sierra, Southern and Central Rockies and occasional flooding along coastal areas.   The models dont depict a strong El Nino at this point so precipitation amounts are rated in the “Normal” Category currently through January 2013.  Any changes to the strength of El Nino can have drastic changes in snowfall amounts. My prediction at this point is for a return to normal snowfall in the Rockies (Especially Southern and Central), Wasatch (Average snowfall in the 350-450 range),  and even the Sierra can reap some benefits from an average El Nino year with higher moisture along the coast of California.  This keeps less snow in the Northern fringes of Alaska and slightly higher amounts from the Southern Cascades down to the Central and Southern Rockies.  The good news is that snowfall accross the West and even the East Coast should be more widespread and perhaps more frequent!  Amounts might not be epic however can I say “more uniform” and over a wider area? 

last season saw one of the driest on record for the I-70 corridor in Colorado and any changes will be welcome!  I only logged 4 of my 25 days in Colorado last season and the rest were split between Utah, Wyoming, Washington State, and the Sierra.  

I managed to chase down almost 350 inches of powder this year on just 25 days on the slopes with an epic finish at both Snowbird and Squaw on a 2 State Chase with 36 inches in 48 hours.   Right now it is time to sink into summer however if you still have the boards out many areas in the Northwest are still open on weekends as well as some resorts in the Sierra and Colorado.  

Enjoy the time off or “time on” the slopes if you are still chasing or headed to South America this summer and please continue to chime in with comments and questions for the upcoming season!  Thanks to all that have donated to keep Powderchasers alive!