Epic Alert: Northwest – Powder Alert: Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah and COLORADO!

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 6, 2012 6:38 pm

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Get jumping, chasing, and celebrating as truly the first super cold winter storm is now impacting the Cascades with snotel data showing 17 inches of fresh powder at Mount Baker since 7AM and still dumping.  Resorts to the South such asStevens, Crystal and Alpental started to see snow at 3PM and will see 4-9 tonight and more on Friday. Baker should see the highest snow totals (22-30 inches) under continued NW and Westerly flow however Stevens will do it’s best to catch up by Friday afternoon. There will be steady snow on Friday along I-90 with a convergence zone that likely will favor Stevens Pass and resorts along and North of Interstate 90 with snow levels dropping to 2,000 feet (BLOWER ALERT).   7-15 inches will likely fall over Northern Idaho and Washington’s Eastern resorts including Rogers Pass.
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Mountain Nomads Eric Rasmussen tears it up at Grand Targhee | Dec. 2, 2012 | Photo: Josh Cooley of Primal Outdoors

Rockies:  Moisture will begin in the Tetons as early as Friday morning (Light snow) and continue through Saturday night.  The peak snowfall will occur early Saturday morning with a sharp cold front and continue through the day.  The long duration event and peak snowfall on Saturday should lead to storm totals in the 10-18 inch range with higher amounts in Northern areas of Yellowstone.   NW flow is not ideal for Jackson Hole and a better bet for Teton Pass and perhapsTarghee.  Plan on storm skiing the annual tram opening at Jackson on Saturday morning where top to bottom riding opens for the season.  The Northern Wasatch of Utah will see steady light to moderate snow on Saturday/Sunday (Peak Late Saturday-into the evening) with storm totals in the 8-15 inch range. Little Cottonwood Canyon will be favored under NW flow (Alta, Snowbird).  Both Central and Southern Montana (Bozeman, Bridger) will also see decent snowfall (7-11) primarily on Saturday.

Colorado:  I highlighted Colorado in red on the alert for a few reasons.  First, it might be the first snow that many resorts have seen in 4 weeks, and 2nd with cold air alone (This system has a weak moisture tap), things can get cranking especially over Steamboat and perhaps the Gore Range near Vail.  As very cold air settles in on Saturday/Sunday you stand the best odds of a moderate 5-10 inch dump with some areas picking up greater amounts (Steamboat has the best odds). I-70 will be snow covered by Saturday evening.   Aspen, and areas south to Telluride will also see snow later Saturday (4-8) and by Sunday the flow favors the front range so expect Winter Park, Summit County. and Eldora to get into the action.  My experience in Colorado tells me that cold fronts can sometimes work magic for snowfall from orographics (Cold air forcing warmer air aloft).   Light snow will break out over Colorado prior to the strong cold front on Saturday PM so expect 1-3 inches prior to the main event.

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The Chase?

Friday- Pacific Northwest, Baker AM, Stevens PM

Saturday- Tetons, Northern Idaho, Bozeman (Storm skiing)

Sunday- Southern Wasatch of Utah, Steamboat Colorado, Vail, Snowmass,

Monday-Left overs on the front range of Colorado- Eldora?

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