Weather and snow reports are of keen interest to all skiers and we do have a link to the daily mountain conditions report as part of this website. But looking ahead to when snow is coming, if snow is coming, how much snow is coming, is a pastime all by itself. The Open Snow website: http://opensnow.com/location/vail is one frequented by many Vail locals to get an idea of coming storms. Meteorologist, Joel Gratz, blogs about Colorado weather as part of this site: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/colorado. Here is Joel's latest post:
Another round of light snow Saturday night with 1-3 inches for mountains along and north of I-70. Otherwise dry through Thursday, with the next chance of snow for the mountains and front range cities on Thursday night and Friday.
The weak storm that brushed northern Colorado last night put down snow for most locations from Aspen north to I-70 and Steamboat. Aspen reported about an inch, which was the general report along I-70 as well. Steamboat reported 2-4 inches, and Winter Park reported 4 inches. This was a bit more snow than I forecasted, and I'll never complain about that!
Today will dry out across the north with a few lingering clouds and flurries, then another quick-moving storm will bring a few more inches of snow tonight for the same areas. Tonight's storm will be a bit further north than last night's storm, so I'm expecting about an inch less snow tonight compared to last night for the areas that did get snow. This isn't a big storm by any means, but a few inches of fresh snow is better than nothing:-)
From Sunday through Thursday look for dry weather across the entire state.
The next storm will move in on Thursday night with snow for most areas, lasting through Friday. The latest models are trying to split this storm, which would mean less snowfall for most areas. We want a storm to move into Colorado with its full force, not as a piece of its once formidable self.
When we're 6+ days away from a storm, the best forecast tools we have available are called "ensembles". They show a range of forecasts, because we know that no 6-day forecast will be perfectly accurate. It's better to look at the range of possibilities.
For Thursday night, the Canadian model's ensemble forecast is below.
The "dip" in the lines across Utah and Colorado is the storm. We want the "dip" to move directly across Colorado. If it's too far north, we'll miss the brunt of the energy. If it's too far south, it's a sign that the storm might split, which isn't good either.
The red line shows the average of all the possible tracks. The red line wouldn't be bad for us, but if the tracks to the south of the red line pan out, that would likely mean less snow for most of the state, but perhaps more for southern Colorado.
Of course two days ago, the models were hinting that the storm would take a more northern track, and now they're showing a more southern track. So while I'm confident we'll see flakes on Thursday ngiht and Friday, the details are still far from certain.
My wife, Wendy, who teaches skiing out of Vail Village was "clinicing" on Thursday and got the heads up that they were going to open Chair 5 today. We dutifully headed up Gondola One at 9 AM to discover if this was fact or fiction. And it was indeed fact. However, once at the top of Chair 3 we sucumbed to the draw of the groomers and did a run on Lost Boy followed quickly by a run on Dealers Choice. It was a good decision. Unbelievable to be first (or nearly first) ones down those runs on a Colorado Blue Sky morning. It also turned out to be a good decision because kind of as expected, chair 5 conditions were pretty variable. Lots of grabby, inconsistent snow. But great to get this area of the mountain open and skied on. Hopefully there will be some snow Friday night (as currently forecast) to lay on what we packed down. Wonderful morning and back in the office by 11:30.
Who knew chasing a 12 year old around could be so much fun.