The weather this week is a near repeat of last week with short bouts of snow, and calm periods in between. The difference is that more snow might make it over the Continental Divide this time. Those drenching storms hitting the west coast make their way eastward, but they don’t always reach southeast Wyoming. The first wave came through Tuesday and finishes today. Then there is a lull, the same as last week, going into the weekend. The next stormy pulse making it to southeast Wyoming arrives early next week.
New snow and warmer temperatures made the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area a popular place last weekend. Those conditions are expected to repeat again this weekend, with new snow today and then clearing skies. The next chance of snow is Sunday.
The pulses of storms keep the powder coming at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with considerably more snow on that west side of the Continental Divide. The storm ending today will leave about a foot of snow behind, while another 10 inches are in the forecast starting early next week. Over Teton Pass at Grand Targhee, the second storm, arriving late in the weekend will bring more snow to this area, with 19 inches in the forecast. The snowpack in northwest Wyoming is running 115% of average for the season.
Steamboat also has plenty of powder. Another 16 inches is in the forecast starting early next week. The snowpack there is at 143% of average for the season. The snow has fallen at Winter Park, but with less intensity. The storm ending today will blanket the slopes with 4 inches of new powder, while only 2 inches is forecast with the next storm early next week.
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. Thin spots in the snowpack create risky conditions that can break and result in large and dangerous avalanches. Stay wary, especially where areas of deep snow taper into a shallower snowpack. Stick to slopes less than 30 degrees not connected to steeper terrain.
At Keystone, near Rob Roy Reservoir, there has been a total of 100 inches of snow so far this season according to Don Day Jr. at DayWeather.com. This is an increase of 6 inches from last week, and nearly even with the 102 inches reported by this time last year. According to Open Snow, the snowpack in the Snowy Range is 108% of average for this time of year. This is a three percentage point decrease over last week.
Backcountry skiers report good conditions from the Green Rock Trailhead and on up the Upper Libby Creek Trail and all the way to Bear Lake. Wind action has scoured exposed areas, while drifts formed in protected areas, especially along the tree line. The storm ending today brings another few inches of snow. Clear skies prevail until late Sunday, when more snow is possible.
The lower trails at Corner Mountain, Little Laramie and going down the Barber Lake Trail are in good condition, although there are likely thin spots at the lower elevations. The Barber Lake Trail got some attention by local users with some packing, while the other trails are user-packed.
For snowmobilers, conditions are excellent “up top” in the Snowy Range. Expect wind scouring on exposes slopes. Similar to last weekend, the snow takes a break with little new snow expected until early next week.
Snow conditions are very good on the trails at Chimney Park, off of Highway 230. Skiers and snowshoers have packed all of the trails with the exception of the Lodgepole Loop, where skiers can expect to break trail since that route gets less traffic.
Conditions are good on the Nordic ski trails at the Happy Jack Recreation Area with about 6 inches of new snow last week. That was enough to allow grooming to start, including the setting of classic tracks. Those wanting a tour of the new routes off of the Summit Loop are invited to join members of the Medicine Bow Nordic Association for a ski tour of the new areas this starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. Registration for this free event is on the MBNA website.
The multi-use trails are packed, but expect soft segments where low tire pressure is needed. Hikers are urged to enjoy the trails only when they are well-packed. Post-holing on the trails is difficult to smooth over for other users.
The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service snow measuring stations report 35 inches of snow at Cinnabar Park, the same as last week. There is 44 inches at Brooklyn Lake, a decrease of four inches from last week. The report at Sand Lake on the north end of the Medicine Bow Mountains is 47 inches, a decrease of seven inches from last week. The measuring station at Medicine Bow Peak, at an elevation of 10,500 feet, reports 66 inches, the same as last week. The measuring station along Crow Creek on Pole Mountain shows 13 inches of snow, the same as last week.
Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Nordic ski trails: Conditions are good. The base is thin but coverage is good with daily grooming for skate and classic techniques.
Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Multi-use trails: Very good, but soft conditions. Use very low tire air pressure when out on fat bikes.
Chimney Park Nordic ski trails: Very good conditions; routes are user-packed with enough use to establish a packed base.
Snowy Range backcountry conditions: Trails out of Green Rock going up the mountain are in very good to excellent condition, although some wind action creates scoured segments.
Snowy Range: Conditions are good to very good but avalanche danger is moderate. Use extreme caution on steep terrain.
Wyoming downhill areas
Snowy Range Ski Area: 40-inch base; 5 lifts, 33 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Antelope Butte: 17-inch base; no additional information available.
Grand Targhee: 61-inch base; 6 lifts, 94 trails and 84% of terrain open.
Hogadon: 20-inch base; 2 lifts, 27 trails and 96% of terrain open.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: 76-inch base; 13 lifts, 124 trails and 95% of terrain open.
Meadowlark Ski Lodge: 30-inch base; 2 lifts, 14 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Sleeping Giant: 43-inch base; 2 lifts, 49 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Snow King: 59-inch base; 7 lifts, 41 trails and 87% of terrain open.
White Pine: 48-inch base; 2 lifts, 27 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Colorado downhill areas
Arapahoe Basin: 44-inch base; 9 lifts, 92 trails and 63% of terrain open.
Breckenridge: 38-inch base; 35 lifts, 149 trails and 80% of terrain open.
Copper Mountain: 43-inch base; 23 lifts, 142 trails and 91% of terrain open.
Eldora: 24-inch base; 10 lifts, 52 trails and 80% of terrain open.
Keystone: 37-inch base; 20 lifts, 124 trails and 95% of terrain open.
Loveland: 37-inch base; 8 lifts, 55 trails and 59% of terrain open.
Steamboat: 87-inch base; 21 lifts, 171 trails and 100% of terrain open.
Vail: 55-inch base; 31 lifts, 254 trails and 93% of terrain open.
Winter Park: 53-inch base; 23 lifts, 157 trails and 93% of terrain open.