This past weekend’s storm was amazing.  We’re looking at a warm weather and sun this midweek, with more snow (hopefully) this Friday and Saturday.  Here are the details:

We’ll be under a large ridge of high pressure from Tuesday through Thursday, so that means it will be warm and dry.  Wednesday’s high may be in the 40s, even at 10,000’.  Thursday looks to be the windiest of the weekdays this week. 

Our next system, a relatively weak one, comes in from the west northwest on Friday into Saturday.  There may be a small upslope component (and perhaps even a jet streak component), but as of now the system isn’t looking like it’ll have enough moisture to produce that much snow.  Here are the model forecasts:

7” – Canadian Model

4” – European Model

3” – American Model

The Canadian Model says it will only be really windy on Sunday this weekend, while the American Model says it will be windy both days. 

Early next week looks to be dry.  Then, gazing into forecast fairyland, the American and Canadian Models do not see snow later next week, while the European Model is calling for at least a few inches. 

Finger’s crossed for more snow.

Retrospective Discussion:

What a storm we had this past weekend!  Eldora picked up 20” – that’s more than twice the most optimistic model’s prediction just 48 hours before the storm started.  Per the Lake Eldora Snotel Site, this storm brought us from 47% of average to 82% of average in just a few days.  And, at least at Berthoud Pass (not too far from our patrol zone) where I skied yesterday and today, it was great, high moisture content, base building type snow. 

So, why did the models so underpredict the storm?  First, the right portion (or technically left front portion) of the jet streak came right overhead causing a massive amount of snow.  Second, while the models were all showing a westerly wind pattern, the winds ended up shifting and coming from the north.  Winds almost never come from the north, but that (apparently) is a good direction for our patrol zone.  The model that did the best in predicting the snowfall amount was the WRF model, which only underpredicted the storm by a little less than half, while the European and Canadian Models did worse, and the American model only predicted 3”.  We got basically seven times that much!  What a storm!


-Jordan (Monday 12/4/23 Afternoon)

Geeky Notes:

References to the American Model are to the American (GFS) Model grid including Brainerd Lake with an average elevation of 9,439’.  References to the Canadian Model are the Canadian (GDPS) Model grid including Brainerd Lake with an average elevation of 10,253’.  References to the WRF Model are the CAIC WRF Hi-Res Model point forecast for Eldora Ski Area with an elevation of 9,189’.  References to the European Model are to the European (ECMWF) Model on a point with my cursor at my best estimate of Eldora Ski Area.  For big picture overviews, I tend to rely on the American Model, not because I think it is the most accurate, but because (i) it is free and (ii) I like its interface. 

If you want more details on these forecasts, feel free to buy my Hunting Powder book at Hunting Powder: A Skier’s Guide to Finding Colorado’s Best Snow: Lipp, Jordan, Gratz, Joel: 9780578838533: Books.  How is that for an absolutely shameless plug?  Or, the next time you see me at a patrol function, just ask me any questions on how I put together these non-professional forecasts.  Cheers.