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Temperatures dropping rapidly as storm moves through

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Most of the remaining part of the storm is currently moving through the area as temperatures up top have dropped from 0F at 5am to -7F at 8:30am as light snow continues. Temperatures will likely continue to fall or remain this cold until tomorrow morning when a trailing wave finally pushes the coldest part of the storm east of the area. Snow showers on the hill will likely continue until tomorrow afternoon, though additional accumulations after noon today will be minimal due to the very cold temperatures and drying airmass.

Another grazing wave in northwest flow will keep temperatures cold and start light snow showers on the hill again during Tuesday afternoon and evening. There should be some warming on the mountain slopes by Wednesday, but it will be most noticeable on Thursday as the trough that had been sitting over the western part of the US moves east. Mountain valleys, on the other hand, are likely to remain cold as strong inversions develop and persist.

Models currently forecast a weak storm for the following weekend. A flat ridge looks to build in the Gulf of Alaska which may shunt Pacific energy to our north and create mostly dry conditions after that.

SnowAlarm registration and login back for the 2013-2014 ski season

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The SnowAlarm login and registration system is now back for this winter season. In addition to changes you’ve seen on the site including the new layout and mobile-friendly versions, I also have a new registration system. Longtime users of the site will not like it, but ‘ve had to implement a revenue generating model for SnowAlarm.

Unlimited SnowAlarms for one area are still free, but multiple areas require a fee as I am no longer able to personally bear the costs of running this site. Since competitors are now charging for something I have been giving away for over 13 years, I have finally decided to consider a similar approach.

For my loyal SnowAlarm users over the years, I am offering the first payment for any product you choose at half price if you choose the same username from years past when you sign up. If you don’t see the discount on your invoice after signing up, then your username is wrong and you will have to go through the signup process again.

Additionally, your old SnowAlarm profile will be automatically resored! This is only for the first charge, and recurring products will be billed at the normal rate. Again, the half price discount will be applied to ONLY your first payment and ONLY once. Remember to choose the same username from years past when you sign up in order to receive this special discount! If you don’t see the discount on your invoice after signing up, then your username is wrong and you will have to go through the signup process again.

I have decided to still offer an unlimited number of SnowAlarms for one ski area for free. This is great option for the destination skier interested in only the ski area they are visiting. Otherwise, the following subscriptions are available:

  • $1.99 for unlimited areas for 1 day. This is a one-time charge so you can enable your SnowAlarms for just that huge powder day predicted for tomorrow.
  • $5 / week between Nov 1 and the third weekend of April. This is a recurring charge that occurs every week during the season.
  • $10 / month between Nov 1 and the third weekend of April. This is a recurring charge that occurs every month during the season.
  • $30 / year. This is a recurring charge that occurs every year.

Even though there will be no recurring charges, as part of your subscription I will start to send SnowAlarms when the first Colorado resorts open, usually late October and will continue to send then after the third weekend in April until all resorts are closed.

Sign up now and don’t miss another powder day!

Great skiing on Friday

It finally warmed up to 2F at mid-mountain and -6F up top, so I headed up in the afternoon to check out the new terrain opening, specifically Rolex as Elkhead started operations yesterday. The groomed terrain was just fantastic as it was soft and buttery. Rolex itself was fairly skied by the time I got to it, but lots of high quality bouncy powder in the trees.

I only had time for two laps as without Sundown running yet, you had to ski down to Storm Peak to regain access to the Priest Creek area. Second lap was pretty much a repeat of the first as still lots of untracked left if you are willing to look for it. I even did a couple of laps on the Gondola as the Heavenly Daze and Vogue edges were skiing very well.

Temperatures have warmed a bit ahead of the next storm and with light snow currently falling, I expect another day of great skiing on the hill!

More snow and slightly less cold this weekend before next arctic surge on Monday

Friday, December 6, 2013

The very cold temperatures these last few days will moderate a bit later today and into the weekend as another surge of colder air drops into the western part of the large trough over the western US. This forces more southwesterly flow over our area by late tonight which should bring some noticeable warming to the mountain slopes. Valleys will remain cold.

That energy to our west will begin to move over our area by Saturday afternoon and will produce light to moderate snowfall through Sunday. While the absolute moisture in the air is low due to the cold temperatures, we may see some significant accumulations if the temperatures warm enough for the snow crystals called dendrites to form. Dendrites are the easily recognizable pointy star-shaped crystal that leads to very low density fluffy snow. If temperatures are too cold, as they are today, the snow crystals that form are more needle-like and pack together much more efficiently, leading to higher snow densities and denser snow.

Due to the snow continuing Saturday night and most of Sunday, I may expect a fluffly 6-12” on the hill by Sunday afternoon. The flow does finally turn to the northwest during the day Sunday which is constructive for snowfall, but moisture should be decreasing then partly offsetting the favorable wind direction.

A final dry trailing wave looks to cross the area early on Monday bringing another surge of arctic air into the area, but no snow. If skies clear Monday night, Tuesday morning could see the coldest temperatures of this event in the valleys as the fresh snow very efficiently cools the low-lying surfaces. However, mountain slope temperatures will begin to moderate as the week progresses, becoming noticeably warmer by Wednesday.

Another storm approaches the west coast near the end of the work week, though current model trends have this storm splitting and weakening as it enters the US.

Great skiing in very cold conditions

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I couldn’t bring myself to press glass with only a 7.5” overnight report, and caught the 10:40 am bus to see what was left. I was not planning on heading up to the -8F temperatures up top, but it was clear the powder hounds were out early this morning as all of the Four Points trails were very tracked. First run was in the upper parts of Closet and then a traverse over to Shadows, which is the usual for me. Good skiing, but not great as there was some crunchiness underneath from the sun this past weekend. It got better as I went lower as the snow report went from 7” on top to 9” at mid-mountain, and the snow became less tracked.

But I wanted UNTRACKED, so I headed over to the Twilight area. Because the egress from the Priest Creek area is on the Duster cat track, the runs get progressively less tracked the further towards High Noon you go. In here I found the goods as bouncy bottomless powder greeted my every turn. I did have to cross tracks, but that did not affect the quality of the turns.

I had considered going over toward Flying Z, but went back for more in Twilight. Even though the temperature had risen a few degrees to -6F, it wasn’t warm enough to convince me for another run and I headed down Heavenly Daze.

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