Saturday (1/11): Increasing clouds with snow by nightfall, highs around twenty, westerly winds at 10-20 mph with gusts to 50 mph.

Sunday (1/12): Light snow with highs in the mid-teens, westerly winds at 10-20 mph with gusts to 50 mph.

Forecast Discussion:

One system is moving out this (Friday) morning, and the next one will move in on Saturday.  This weekend will be cold, especially on Sunday, with light snow and the usual windy conditions.  As of 4 pm Sunday, the CAIC WRF is calling for 3” of new snow, the Canadian (GDPS) Model is calling for 1.5”, and the American (GFS) Model is only calling for a trace.  Maybe because I’m optimistic, but as the CAIC WRF tends to be the (albeit slightly) more accurate model on snowfall, and 3” from a westerly storm doesn’t sound inaccurate, my money is on the CAIC WRF.  Regardless, this system will favor both closer to the divide (always true with a westerly system) and further to the north in our patrol zone.  If anyone was crazy enough to get to the St. Vrain Glaciers on Sunday, which hopefully no one is, I bet that area will pick up close to a foot of snow out of this storm.

As for the wind gusts this weekend, that’s a tricky one to guess (uh, I mean forecast).  The CAIC WRF Model is calling for steady winds at 20 mph and gusts to 70 mph.  The American (GFS) Model and the Canadian (GDPS) Model are both calling for winds at the 10 mph range with gusts to 30-40 mph.  That’s a massive difference and we’ll see which one is right.

The system doesn’t end with the weekend.  The Canadian (GDPS) Model is remaining bullish and is calling for 9½” total between Saturday and Wednesday.  The American (GFS) Model is calling for 2” total during the same period.  Let’s hope the Canadians are right. 

Looking forward, the next system comes on Friday or Saturday, but as that’s skirting forecast fairyland, I’m not ready to guess whether we’ll see decent snow out of it or not.  Another one is set to head to our area next Tuesday (1/21), but that’s way out in forecast fairyland.

Looking back, Eldora reported 2” Wednesday night, and 1” on Thursday / Thursday night.  As such, it looks like the Canadian (GDPS) model did the best in predicting this week’s midweek snow.

I’ll be curious to see how accurate my Sunday forecast is on Sunday as I have a patrol day in the Eldora Sidecountry / Lost Lake.  If you’re interested in joining me on this patrol day, please reach out to me directly.

One other note.  As of the time of writing this, the CAIC has the avalanche danger as “low” below treeline for the front range zone.  For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t even dream of skiing the below treeline Lost Lake Couloir on Sunday.  CAIC’s low is very different than what I consider to be low.  Stay safe out there – avalanche conditions (at least on the west side of the divide where I’ve spent more time recently) remain tricky and worrisome.

-Jordan (Friday morning)

P.S. I wrote 95% of this on Thursday night due to work time constraints on Friday, so the model runs I refer to above are from the later runs on Thursday.