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First turns of the 2015-2016 season!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

First turns of the 2015/2016 ski season on Saturday, 7 November after presumably the last mountain bike ride of the season on the previous Tuesday, 3 November! That beats last year’s 5 day break between summer and winter sports by two days!

The storm responsible for this quick switch dropped about 17 inches of snow over 3 days at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area as well as this location, which was at the upper end of the advertised forecast.

This area is Fox Curve which is on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass several miles east of the West Summit. After a few uphill traverses without skins, we took off our skis and followed the bootpack up to the top of the ridge.

Below is some video evidence my buddy Dave Moloney shot as I was coming down the shallow ridge - The skiing was not nearly as good as last year, but bottomless powder on day 1 is always a good thing!

Milly followed Dave down ahead of me, so she was unavailable for the starring role this year.

Warming and drying for the weekend before a splitting storm approaches early next week

Friday, November 6, 2015

I had about 5” of snow on my deck this morning, and the powdercam at the top of the Steamboat Ski area is currently showing about 15” of storm snow with about 6” of that occurring between yesterday evening and this morning. Temperatures will stay cool today even as the snow tapers off on the hill and peeks of sun appear in the valley this afternoon.

After a chilly start Saturday morning, temperatures will begin to warm under clear and sunny skies, though still staying seasonably cool through the end of the day. Sunday morning will also start cool, but should eventually be warmer than Saturday as the center of a transient ridge moves over the Steamboat Springs area.

By Sunday, another strong Pacific storm brings more cold air and precipitation to the northwest coast and northern California as it moves eastward. Current model timing has the pleasant weekend weather lasting through Monday before showers are forecast beginning Tuesday. Unlike this past storm, models are forecasting that this storm will split as it crosses the Great Basin which may minimize the snowfall over northern Colorado. At the very least, temperatures will drop by Wednesday as the northern part of the split storm drags some cool air over our area.

Another shallow wave in the jet stream passes north of our area around Thursday, keeping the cool temperatures around for Friday as well. Current model forecasts have another round of warming and drying for the following weekend.

Storm lasts through Friday before warming and drying returns for the weekend

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I had about 2.5” of snow on my deck this morning, and the powdercam at the top of the Steamboat Ski area is currently showing about 8” of snow with a temperature of 12F. Weather will remain cloudy and cool today before a trailing wave brings another round of colder air and snow starting tonight and lasting through midday Friday, leaving an additional 3-6” on the hill and an inch or two down in the valley.

After a chilly start Saturday morning, temperatures will begin to warm under clear and sunny skies, though still staying seasonably cool through the end of the day. Sunday morning will also start cool, but should eventually be warmer than Saturday as the center of a transient ridge moves over the Steamboat Springs area.

By Sunday, another strong Pacific storm brings more cold air and precipitation to the northwest coast and northern California as it moves eastward. Current model timing has the pleasant weekend weather lasting through Monday before showers are forecast beginning Tuesday. There is model disagreement as to how fast this system moves through the area, but this is another cold storm that will produce snow Tuesday and perhaps Wednesday as well.

Storm arrival delayed until later Tuesday

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The storm advertised in the last forecast has trended slower in the models, and now is not expected to arrive until later Tuesday. The wet-weather forecast for Monday and Tuesday has now been replaced by breezy, dry and warm temperatures, with showers likely holding off till later Tuesday.

As before, the lead wave forecast to cross the area, now on Tuesday, will not have much cold air, keeping the initial surge of precipitation as rain in the valley and snow at the higher elevations, with maybe 1-4” at the top of Mt. Werner. By Wednesday, however, cold air infiltrates the area and lowers snow levels, with snow likely accumulating on the valley bottom by the end of the day Wednesday.

The mountain-top winds turn from the southwest to the northwest Wednesday evening, which should increase the snowfall rates, especially on the hill. I expect 3-6” of snow by Thursday evening at the Steamboat Ski area and maybe an inch or two in town.

There is a small break Thursday night before another wave in northwest flow brings more snow and additional colder air for Friday, perhaps leaving another inch or so in town and an additional 3-6” on the hill.

The weather is forecast to clear for Saturday, and after a chilly start, temperatures will moderate, especially later in the weekend. Seasonable temperatures with dry weather will last through Monday before the next storm threatens the Steamboat Springs area around Tuesday or Wednesday.

Quick moving storm around Friday followed by large complex slow moving storm next week

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The active jet stream advertised in last week’s forecast will continue to affect the Steamboat Springs area late Thursday into Friday with a quick moving storm, followed by a large, complex and slow moving storm starting around Monday and lasting through much of the next work week.

A wave currently crossing the West Coast will split as it crosses the Great Basin, keeping most of the precipitation to our south. Some cool air from the the northern part of the split will be reinforced by additional energy moving across the Pacific, but overall the winds never turn to our favorable northwest direction, limiting the cold air and overall precipitation. The end result is showers should begin Thursday afternoon or evening and leave 1-4” of snow on the upper part of the hill by noon Friday, with lesser amounts at lower elevations and rain in the valleys.

Drier weather with average temperatures will return after this storm passes from Friday afternoon through the weekend, with perhaps breezy conditions at times.

However, this break will end by Monday morning as a large storm forecast to be off the Northwest Coast by Sunday afternoon moves south and east, reinforced by a number of upstream waves crossing the Pacific. Some of these waves will be be ejected out of the parent storm, forecast to be located around mid-California by Monday, and move over our area, with the first wave forecast by early Monday morning.

Currently, models forecast most of the precipitation to fall as rain in the valley bottom as a relatively stationary front settles over our area, but likely significant snow at the higher elevations for Monday and most of Tuesday. However, it looks like Steamboat Springs will be right on the edge of the rain-snow elevation, and precipitation may switch to snow during the overnight hours before changing back to rain during the day.

A large piece of energy is forecast to move along this front by Tuesday night, likely keeping precipitation as snow along the valley bottom by Wednesday. Continued precipitation is expected for Thursday and possibly Friday as this storm eventually moves eastward and likely south of our area, but the complexity evident early in week greatly reduces forecast confidence beyond midweek.

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