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Widespread Powder (Panic)

By January 28, 2023January 31st, 2023No Comments


Widespread Panic powder day all around.  Grand Targhee is the winner so far–the lit-up snow stake. Targhee is on the backside of Jackson Hole and is a snow catcher.  Storms get stuck there and dump. 

If you’re at Jackson Hole and it is dry, catch the bus to Targhee (old school bus/cheap fare), there is almost always fresh snow and it’s a cool resort, just about an hour’s drive away. There is plenty of Widespread Panic and Grateful Dead to listen to along the way.  

The Snow Stake Specialist (SSS) dug out the Andesite Snow Stake at Big Sky (shown last before/after).  That was deep!  

Daily Snow Stakes

GFS Surface Chart 

All Snow Version

GFS 500 mb Charts Last 4 Cycles

Pattern Discussion

Looking at the four charts above, you can see the similarities between the cycles.  This time through, the energy will get cutoff from the flow, which is similar to what happened in cycle two. Looking at the charts side by side, you can see how the pattern varies from cycle to cycle due to the teleconnections.  Also, the time of year adds subtle differences in the outcome.  I expect that in next cycle, it will be at its strongest strength and look like the third chart.  

Let’s take a look at where we are with current snowpack.  This is a chart from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

We are on the upper end of the interquartile range.  I had to look interquartile up, I always called it the mid-spread in back in the day, but interquartile sounds good, so I’m going with it.  Let’s make it the “word of the day”–try to work it into conversation.  “You know Bill, I was looking at the Chief’s offence vs Cincy’s defense, over the last 3 games they met, did you know the interquartile average favors KC”?

Sorry, back on track now.  As the active pattern cranks back up, so should the needle on the chart.  The MJO (Madden Jullian Oscillation) is beginning to move in the right direction for enhancing precipitation in mid-February.  Even if the MJO doesn’t come through, there will still be good storms through February 26th, with the highest probability of strong storms between the 10-26th.  

LR Prediction Forecast Chart (Correction)

I made a mistake talking about the current storms.  I said that storm 41,42, and 43 yesterday and meant 38, 39, and 40.  I have two spreadsheets, one public, one private, with more storms listed on the private.  I was simply looking at the wrong spreadsheet–thank you Cladio S from Seattle for bringing this to my attention!  

Last night Storm 38 came through and outperformed last cycle.  You can see the snow stakes below from last cycle.  Now we get to the secondary wave which is storms 39 and 40. Those storms reach Utah and Colorado Sunday and are about 12hours ahead of schedule.

Storm History

The last time these two waves came through we had primarily rain for the first wave in the PNW followed by snow for the second wave.  Mt Hood was the winner with 6 snow and 2 inches of rain, Whistler 5, Crystel 4, and Mt Bachelor 5.  In Utah, Alta had 2-day totals of 8, While in Colorado, a rare time where the state has outperformed Utah, with Breckenridge 14, Beaver Creek 13, Steamboat 11, Vail 9, Wolf Creek and Aspen 7.  Also, a rare spotting of Santa before Christmas.  




Snow for the northern and central ranges with temperatures in the mid 20’s with moderate to strong winds.  Heaviest precipitation will be in the northern mountains, specifically near Steamboat.  The storm moves out this evening.


Scattered snow showers until the afternoon.

Sunday Night

The next system moves in around midnight.  



Snow continues today until early afternoon.  High temperatures around 15 degrees at base level with wind chills near zero.  Moderate winds from 10-15 mph.  


Cold and snow.  Wind chills will be in the single digits with moderate winds between 10-15 mph.  The system moves out tomorrow night.  

Pacific NW


The second wave comes thru this morning.  It will be less windy, but the wind chills will make it feel like it’s in the low teens, so dress warm.  Temperatures will begin the day in the mid 20’s and will be falling throughout the day, settling in the single digits by 6 pm.  Expect 2-4 today for the northern Cascade resorts Crystal and Snoqualmie with not much expected for Stevens Pass and Mt Baker. 

For southern Cascade resorts Mt Hood Meadows and Timberline heavier snow is expected.  We are looking at 4-8 today with another 1-3 overnight.  Not much expected for Mt Bachelor, however Hoodoo will be in the 2-4 range today, before the system moves out.  

Lake Tahoe (System for Sunday)

Tahoe gets back in on the action early Sunday morning, as storm 41 moves into the Tahoe basin.  This will begin the active period again and will have storms rolling in about every 4-5 days with a pretty large storm expected for Presidents Day weekend (16th), and another good storm on the 20th.

Thank you for reading the blog, as always, if you have any questions, or need personalized info for trip forecasts, please email me at

Long-Range Forecast Predictions thru March 

Forecasted Areas

Pacific Northwest Cascade Mountains

Crystal MountainMount Hood MeadowsTimberline49 Degrees North,  BachelorMt Baker,

Lake Tahoe Sierra Mountains

HeavenlyPalisades TahoeKirkwoodDodge RidgeDonner Ski Ranch

Utah Wasatch Mountains

AltaPark CityDeer ValleyBrightonSnowbirdBrian Head

Colorado Rocky Mountains

AspenAspen HighlandsSnowmassVailBeaver Creek,  Winter ParkKeystoneArapahoe BasinBreckenridgeCopper MountainPowderhornSki CooperTellurideCrested ButteSilvertonWolf CreekEldoraLoveland

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