This break in the windy and snowy weather continues for another couple days, although breezes persist. Compared to the strong winds of late, the wind levels the next few days will seem minimal. Temperatures rise slightly above normal today and Thursday, with breezes picking up but easing by Thursday.
This short respite offers a chance to enjoy the snow without the harsh conditions. By Thursday night and into Friday, a small system comes through with some mountain snow, but minimal moisture on the plains. Temperatures drop 20 to 25 degrees by Thursday, then warming up slightly by Saturday. Another dip in temperatures is possible on Sunday, but overall, the period should be quite pleasant. There’s the potential for a very nippy period by the end of the month, so this is a great time to get out and enjoy the relatively mild weather.
Conditions at the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area are very good to excellent. While powder becomes scarce the next few days, there’s plenty of snowpack to ensure the slopes are well covered. The forecast is for about 6 inches of new fluff over the next 10 days.
Grand Targhee, on the west side of Teton Pass, saw 23 inches of snow in the past five days. Blue skies prevail the next couple days, with 9 inches of snow in the forecast through the middle of next week.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was the big winner the last five days, with 50 inches of new snow. The snow spigots turn off for about 10 days, with just 5 inches in the forecast through the middle of next week. They are now at 114% of average snowpack for this point of the season.
The storm late last week also hit Colorado. Steamboat fared quite well, getting 28 inches of snow the past five days. A few more inches are forecast to fall late in the week, but the lull in storms arrives there, too. Winter Park saw 19 inches from the last storm, with a few more inches in the forecast yet this week and again into the following week.
In the Medicine Bow Mountains, snow depths jumped up again, and according to the Open Snow website, and are now at 135% of average for this time of year, a 15% increase from last week.
At Keystone, near Rob Roy Reservoir, as of Tuesday, there is a total of 124 inches of snow so far this season, according to Don Day Jr. at www.dayweather.com. This is a 20-inch increase from last week, and well past the 88 inches reported by this time last year.
Conditions “up top” in the Snowy Range are outstanding. A few inches could fall Thursday into Friday, but the forecast lacks any big dumps through the start of next week. As always, breezes could kick up, with Saturday being the windiest day.
Personnel at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center report the avalanche danger for the southern Wyoming and northern Colorado mountains is rated “moderate” at all elevations. Wind-drifted snow on easterly slopes pose the greatest hazard. Look for and avoid slopes with weak and soft collapsible layers underneath a thicker, cohesive slab of snow.
Conditions are very good to excellent at Chimney Park, off of Highway 230 and nine miles west of Woods Landing. The trails are user-packed, but with enough traffic to establish a good single-track path on all the routes. Of the packed path, the snow is soft and lacks any real base.
The trails off of Highway 130, including the lower-elevation routes at Corner Mountain and Barber Lake, have plenty of snow, and the base is forming with increased use. The higher-elevation trails out of Green Rock are excellent. Go prepared for plenty of snow on these user-packed trails.
The big dump of snow last week resulted in 8 to 10 inches of snow on the trails at the Happy Jack Recreation Area. That was the most snow in one storm for that area since the start of the season, and was a welcome sight for snow recreationists of all stripes. The Nordic ski trails are groomed daily, but the base remains shallow. This allows minimal actual grooming and smoothing of the trails until more snow arrives.
The multi-use trails are in excellent shape, but started out fairly soft after the big snow dump. Fat bike riders are urged to let the trails set up after grooming to minimize ruts. Lower air pressure also helps minimize rutting. When conditions are especially soft, snowshoes or skis are a better option.
Those out on sleds, hiking up the old ski hill at the Happy Jack Trailhead, found enough snow to make for very good sledding. The hike up should improve as the snow settles.
Snow levels increased across the Medicine Bow National Forest. As of Tuesday morning, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service snow measuring station reports 57 inches at Brooklyn Lake, a 10-inch increase from last week. The report showed 51 inches of snow at Cinnabar Park, an 8-inch increase from last week. The report at Sand Lake on the north end of the Medicine Bow Mountains is 66 inches, an increase of 9 inches from last week. The measuring station at Medicine Bow Peak, at an elevation of 10,500 feet, reports 80 inches, an 8-inch increase from last week. At North French Creek, on the western side of the Medicine Bow Mountains, the reported snow depth is 65 inches, a 5-inch increase from last week. The Crow Creek station on Pole Mountain shows 16 inches of snow, a 4-inch increase from last week.
Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Nordic ski trails: Grooming is underway, with snow packing to consolidate the base. The snow depth is thin, but with good coverage. Classic tracks have yet to be set.
Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Multi-use trails: Grooming for snowshoers, fat bikes and all non-motorized forms of travel is underway. Conditions are very good to excellent.
Chimney Park Nordic ski trails: Very good to excellent conditions on trails that are user-packed.
Snowy Range backcountry conditions: Conditions are excellent, with the snow having a chance to settle to create a more consolidated base.
Snowy Range: There’s lots of snow, but powder could get scarce with blue skies in the forecast. Avalanche danger is moderate.
Wyoming downhill areas
Snowy Range Ski Area: 80-inch base; 5 lifts, 33 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Antelope Butte: Open Friday-Monday. No snow report available.
Grand Targhee: 81-inch base; 5 lifts, 95 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Hogadon: Open Wednesday-Sunday; no snow report available.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: 78-inch base; 13 lifts, 114 trails and 87% of terrain open.
Meadowlark Ski Lodge: Open Friday-Sunday. No snow report available.
Sleeping Giant: Open Friday-Sunday. No snow report available.
Snow King: 30-inch base; 4 lifts, 31 trails and 94% of terrain open.
White Pine: 28-inch base; 2 lifts, 27 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Colorado downhill areas
Arapahoe Basin: 55-inch base; 9 lifts, 87 trails and 60% of terrain open.
Breckenridge: 52-inch base; 34 lifts, 127 trails and 68% of terrain open.
Copper Mountain: 48-inch base; 22 lifts, 138 trails and 87% of terrain open.
Eldora: 22-inch base; 9 lifts, 40 trails and 62% of terrain open.
Keystone: 40-inch base; 16 lifts, 71 trails and 55% of terrain open.
Loveland: 48-inch base; 8 lifts, 60 trails and 64% of terrain open.
Steamboat: 84-inch base; 14 lifts, 159 trails and 93% of terrain open.
Vail: 56-inch base; 22 lifts, 182 trails and 57% of terrain open.
Winter Park: 54-inch base; 20 lifts, 141 trails and 84% of terrain open.