Friday and Saturday morning will be sunny with highs in the low 30s.  By Saturday evening a large storm from the northwest passes to our north, and will bring some snow to our patrol zone.  Sunday looks to be a bit cooler with snow falling.  It looks like this system will bring snow in two waves, first primarily Saturday night, and second primarily Sunday night or Monday.  Here are the model forecasts for Saturday night:

9” – WRF Model

4” – American, Icon, and European Models

3” – UK Met Model

2” – Canadian Model

And here are the model forecasts for Sunday night / Monday:

7” – American Model

3” – European and UK Met Models

2” – Canadian Model

1” – Icon Model

So, 3” to 16”.  And as if that’s not enough disagreement and uncertainty already between the models, after a lull on Tuesday, the three major medium term models all disagree.

According to the Canadian Model we’ll get snow from Wednesday through Sunday with a total of 20”.  According to the American Model we’ll get 4” of snow on Thursday, but not the other days.  And as is usual, the European Model falls somewhere in between with 7” of snow, primarily on Friday through Sunday.  Let’s hope the Canadian Model, which has the best track record on snow predictions for our patrol zone, turns out to be correct.

If you’ll notice, for the first time ever I’m referencing the German Icon Model.  (Technically its ICON13 that I’ll be looking at.)  I finally received free access to it, so I’m interested to see how it does in predicting snow in our patrol zone.  It predicts out 180 hours, so more than the WRF Model, less than the European, American, and Canadian Models, and similar to the UK Met Model.  And for what it’s worth, it is apparently the third most popular global weather model after the European Model and the American Model.  In future forecasts I’ll try to spell Icon correctly as opposed to spelling it like the season pass.  And I certainly won’t try to spell out what it stands for ever again.  So for the one and only time, Icon stands for Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic.  That’s a mouthful that I’ll forget by the time I’m finished writing the retrospective discussion. 

Retrospective Discussion:

Eldora’s snow stake camera showed 6” of snow fell in the Tuesday system.  So the WRF and UK Met Models were pretty close, while the Canadian and European Models were too low, and the American Model was way too low.


-Jordan (Thursday (Leap Day) evening)

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.