Welcome back everyone to another season of weather forecasts for our patrol zone.  In an ideal world, I’ll be getting these out Tuesday and Friday mornings, though no promises I’ll always be right on schedule.

Nothing to exciting in our forecast – light snow, lots of wind (surprise!), and fortunately colder temperatures.  After a warm Friday, we should be getting some light snow on Saturday, which is approaching us from the northwest.  Below are the current model forecasts for this system:

2” – Canadian and WRF Models

1” – American and European Models

Sunday remains cold.  Monday warms up, and then temperatures stay cold after Monday for the foreseeable future.  On Tuesday/Wednesday, we may get another small shot of snow.  Here are the current model forecasts:

5” – European Model

1” – American and Canadian Models

Then, more light snow possible Friday (11/26) to Sunday (11/28), with the Canadian model calling for 3” but the other models just calling for an inch or less.  Oh, and it will be windy during much of this next week.  No surprise there.  Fingers crossed that the actual weather outperforms the models when it comes to snow.

Retrospective Discussion:

Let’s chat for a minute about the summer and fall. 

Summer – Sadly, although I was optimistic about the summer backcountry ski season in my end-of-season forecast on May 17, 2021, we ended up having a poorer summer season than expected.  We had had a great spring from a snowfall perspective as of mid-May, and spring snowfall is the second biggest determining factor for late summer glacier/snowfield size.  Unfortunately, we got almost no snow from mid-May onwards.  Even worse, the biggest determining factor in late summer glacier/snowfield size is summer temperatures, and sadly it was a hot summer.  Of the records I’ve been keeping on St. Mary’s Glacier’s size at its smallest, in September/October, sadly this past summer was one of the three worst since I started keeping records in the late 1990s.  (2012 and 2018 were the other two awful summers from a St. Mary’s Glacier size perspective.) 

Fall – As far as I can tell, it’s been an average October and first-half of November so far from a snow perspective.  The Lake Eldora Snotel as of Wednesday was 1.3” SWE, and median is 1.4” SWE.  And, although I haven’t yet skied in our patrol zone, my sense from backcountry skiing at St. Mary’s, Berthoud, and Loveland is that we’re average so far.  From an avalanche perspective, we have a complex snowpack already.  Sadly, that’s kind of par for the course too.  Be careful out there.


-Jordan (Friday 11/19 morning)

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all forecasts are for 10,000’ in exposed areas.  References to American Model are the American (GFS) Model.  References to the Canadian Model are the Canadian (GDPS) Model.  References to the WRF Model are the CAIC WRF Hi-Res Model.  References to the European Model are the European (ECMWF) Model.