What a storm we had!  4 feet of new snow on the ground!  More details in the retrospective discussion.

It’s very cold right as I write this Tuesday morning (i.e., subzero), but temperatures look to climb in the coming days.  We’ll have snow Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, though mostly from spillover.  Here are the model solutions:

8” – WRF Model

4” – Canadian and NAM Models

3” – RDPS Model

2” – American Model

This weekend looks to be partly to mostly cloudy, with highs potentially reaching the 30s. 

Retrospective Discussion:

What a storm cycle!  This MLK week storm will be one for the history books.  In the five years I’ve been making these forecasts, I’m sure this was the biggest storm I’ve seen for our patrol zone.  And just going off memory, the only larger storm that pops instantly to mind was the legendary March 2003 blizzard. 

I’m guessing the two biggest keys to this were jet assist and the northerly winds, but let me do some research and follow-up in a later retrospective discussion.  A snowstorm of this size not in the springtime is very usual for our patrol zone, and I’ll be curious to learn from those more knowledgeable than me exactly how we got such a wonderful storm.

The storm totaled approximately 48” at Eldora, twice completely burying the snow stake.  This storm far more than doubled the most optimistic model solutions, so what’s even the point of comparing each model’s woefully inadequate prediction?  That said, if I must, the Canadian Model was the least worst (storm was 2.5x bigger than it predicted) and the American Model was the most worst (storm was 4x bigger than it predicted).  Our patrol zone will ski much better for the rest of the winter!

-Jordan  (Tuesday (1/16/24) Morning)

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: Amazon.com: 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.