The skiing and riding is fantastic in almost all locations across the Rockies, but the season didn’t start as favorably for all areas. While a northern storm track favored Idaho, Montana and Wyoming from late October through November, central and southern areas like Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico saw very little snow, and most of that fell during one early November storm. By early December, however, the storm track shifted a little bit and centered itself more on the central Rockies, which brought snow all the way from Canada south toward the Mexico border. This new storm track stuck around for the last few weeks, and now most areas have fantastic conditions. While the graphic shows that Colorado is still about 30 percent below average in terms of snow pack, realize that the last two to three weeks have been incredibly snowy and most resorts are open with pretty good coverage. This is a vast improvement from earlier this month.
Looking ahead, a storm is moving through Utah and Colorado late this week and will bring another foot of snow to some luckier areas—keeping the skiing fresh and fun. After that, a quiet weekend is in store before another storm moves in for next week. This storm next week is going to be a pain to forecast as the major weather forecasting computer models offer vastly different predictions. One says that the storm will be weaker, come in from the north, and arrive around New Years. The other says the storm will be stronger, come in from the southwest, and arrive later next week. I’m not sure what scenario will play out, but I do know it will snow again next week, and that’s a good thing!
Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.