Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Time to Call in Sick!

If you want to ski fresh snow, you'd better call in sick and head up ASAP to enjoy the angry inch that fell in some locations last night.  After that, the odds favor a mainly dry 7-day period as illustrated by the NAEFS forecasts below which show yesterday evening's brief flurry followed mainly by flatline forecasts (i.e., no precipitation).

The Canadian ensemble (CMCE) always seems to have at least one optimistic member, so you can always pin your hopes on that outlier (although I wouldn't).

I recently extended the GFS forecasts graphics on weather.utah.edu from 180 to 240 hours, so in situations like this you can look even farther into the future for a powder hit.  Yeah, predictability is low at those long time horizons, but you can look anyway even though I call it "dream-prog land."  Last night's forecasts show an almost monsoon-like pattern at 186 hours out with a warm surge of moisture pushing northward into the state.  Perhaps it won't stay dry forever.  Then again, this is a 186 hour forecast...

If there's anything you'd like me to talk about the next few days, leave a comment.  I'm gonna be looking for ideas!


Wellers Book Works in Trolley Square has received a fresh batch of Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth.  Stop by and pick up a copy if you are still looking for one.

I'll be speaking at noon today at Utah Valley University, Room SB260, about all things powder.  It is open to the public, so stop by if you are in the area.

I'll also be giving a talk on Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth at the 3300 South REI at 7 PM on Thursday January 29th.  The talk is free, but REI asks for advanced registration (click here to register).


  1. I've noticed from watching the news and from reading your blog that there appear to be relatively few air quality sensors in the Salt Lake and Utah valleys. Why is that? Given that there are large variations in air quality throughout the valleys (from the Trax mounted sensor), I would think scientists would want these things all over the place. Is it primarily a cost issue? What do these things even look like? How big are they? How do they work exactly? Who makes them? And how much does one actually cost? I'd love to read a blog post that answers these questions.


  2. I have a question about inversions. In Davis and Weber Counties, what holds the pollution in on the west side of the counties. Does the inversion go all the way across the lake to the mountains on the west side of the Salt Lake?

  3. How about an article on where to look for good snow for skiing/riding when we have weather like we have now. How do changes in temperature and humidity affect the snow surface? With a few days of mild temperatures, after the firece inch and a colder air mass in place, I found it challenging to find soft snow yesterday, even high on the mountain in the resort. I would like to take a mellow back country tour, but I am thinking it might just be to enjoy the back country traveling rather than snow quality at this point. Would a place like north-facing areas of powder park still have soft snow?

    1. Lisa, I skied Powder Park yesterday (1/20) and the best skiing I found was north-facing recrystallized snow (loud powder) below the ridgelines. There was some wind affected snow (west facing) but this was confined at and immediately below the ridgeline. All south-facing aspects are crusted.

    2. Thanks for the report on Powder Park!