Mother Nature is in the driver’s seat this week. High winds, plenty of snow and cold temperatures abound. It’s a good time to hunker down and just let blizzard conditions pass before venturing out to enjoy all that new snow. The bulk of the snow ends by Thursday, but short bouts are likely through the weekend. As the snowfall eases, temperatures turn very chilly, but improve somewhat by the weekend.
Conditions at the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area are excellent. The recent storm dumped over a foot of snow, although with wind action, actual measurements are difficult to determine. While there may be short bouts of snow through the weekend, amounts will be only a few inches.
The recent storm brought considerable snow to northwest Wyoming. The forecast is for nearly two feet of fresh powder at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort by the time the storm moves out Thursday. An impressive 34 inches are forecast over Teton Pass at Grand Targhee. A lull arrives for a few days, allowing skiers and riders a chance to enjoy all that powder.
The Steamboat area is expected to get more than a foot of new snow with this storm. The next significant snow holds off until the start of next week. The Winter Park area will get about 8 inches today before the skies clear until next week.
Personnel at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center report the avalanche danger for the southern Wyoming and northern Colorado mountains is rated “considerable” near and above treeline and “moderate” below treeline. Avalanches can be triggered in freshly drifted snow at upper elevations. Avoid smooth, dense lens-shaped pillows of snow on steep slopes below ridgelines, on convex rollovers and inside gully features.
At Keystone, near Rob Roy Reservoir, there has been a total of 162 inches of snow so far this season according to Don Day Jr. at DayWeather.com. This is an increase of 4 inches from last week and ahead of the 142 inches reported a year ago. According to Open Snow, the snowpack in the Snowy Range is 109% of average for this time of year. This is a two percentage point decrease over last week.
Backcountry conditions will be tough for a couple more days as the cold, snow and wind contribute to whiteout conditions. Once the storm moves out, skies clear, but breezes continue, making for especially frigid wind chill temperatures. Snow conditions should be outstanding on the trails heading out from the Green Rock Trailhead and on up the Upper Libby Creek Trail. These trails are user-packed, so it could take a few days before enough ski traffic creates a good path.
The lower trails at Corner Mountain, Little Laramie and going down the Barber Lake Trail should also be in great shape with all the new snow, as well as the Sand Lake Road.
For snowmobilers, conditions could be difficult for a couple days until this storm moves out. There should be plenty of snow “up top” in the Snowy Range on into the weekend.
Snow conditions are excellent on the trails at Chimney Park, off of Highway 230. The trails are user-packed, and have seen enough traffic to provide a good base on all except those trails farthest from the trailhead.
Conditions are excellent on the Nordic ski trails at the Happy Jack Recreation Area. Sunday is the final session of the Wee Ski and Kid Ski programs. Expect crowded conditions around the Tie City Trailhead during the classes from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is the final weekend of racing and lessons on the Medicine Bow Nordic Association calendar.
The multi-use trails are in excellent shape, but expect soft conditions, especially in drifted areas. Those on fat bikes are reminded to use low air pressure to avoid rutting the track.
The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service snow measuring station reports 47 inches of snow at Cinnabar Park, a five-inch increase from last week. There are 64 inches at Brooklyn Lake, an increase of nine inches from last week. The report at Sand Lake on the north end of the Medicine Bow Mountains is 72 inches, an increase of three inches from last week. The measuring station at Medicine Bow Peak, at an elevation of 10,500 feet, reported 90 inches, an increase of seven inches from last week. The measuring station along Crow Creek on Pole Mountain shows 20 inches of snow, the same as last week.
Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Nordic ski trails: Conditions are excellent. Coverage is very good, with daily grooming for skate and classic techniques.
Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Multi-use trails: Excellent conditions, with regular grooming for all types of users. Expect soft surfaces for a few days until the new snow sets up.
Chimney Park Nordic ski trails: Excellent conditions that are user-packed, with less use on routes most distant from the trailhead.
Snowy Range backcountry conditions: Excellent conditions, with plenty of snow on all trails out of Green Rock.
Snowy Range: Conditions are excellent, with some clearing into the weekend. Avalanche conditions are rated moderate to considerable.
Wyoming downhill areas
Snowy Range Ski Area: 48-inch base; 5 lifts, 33 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Antelope Butte: 48-inch base; 3 lifts, 27 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Grand Targhee: 100-inch base; 5 lifts, 88 trails and 77% of terrain open.
Hogadon: 40-inch base; 2 lifts, 28 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: 100-inch base; 13 lifts, 130 trails and 99% of terrain open.
Meadowlark Ski Lodge: 30-inch base; 2 lifts, 14 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Sleeping Giant: 51-inch base; 3 lifts, 49 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Snow King: 59-inch base; 8 lifts, 41 trails and 87% of terrain open.
White Pine: 46-inch base; 2 lifts, 27 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Colorado downhill areas
Arapahoe Basin: 51-inch base; 9 lifts, 137 trails and 93% of terrain open.
Breckenridge: 48-inch base; 35 lifts, 187 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Copper Mountain: 51-inch base; 23 lifts, 155 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Eldora: 30-inch base; 9 lifts, 64 trails and 98% of terrain open.
Keystone: 41-inch base; 20 lifts, 130 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Loveland: 46-inch base; 10 lifts, 90 trails and 96% of terrain open.
Steamboat: 102-inch base; 21 lifts, 171 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Vail: 70-inch base; 33 lifts, 275 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Winter Park: 61-inch base; 23 lifts, 164 trails and 98% of terrain open.