Hoping to get in one last hour of cross-country skiing this winter, I drove up to Soldier Hollow this morning and took advantage of the man-made ribbon of white that still covers about 10 km of trails.
Conditions were surprisingly good. The 10 K of trails that were open were well covered and meticulously groomed. With few people out, it made for fun skiing. Trail passes were $10, so the price was also right.
By now, you are well aware of the forecast of a storm beginning tonight. Although we may see a few mountain snow showers today, things don't really pick up until sometime between 9 PM and midnight tonight as an upper-level short-wave trough moves through. Snow levels through midnight will reach 7000-8000 feet, before falling late tonight. In the wake of the trough, strong northwesterly flow should yield periods of snow showers through Monday.
For Alta-Collins, most of last night's NCAR ensemble members are going for 0.6 to 1.2 inches of water through 0000 UTC 15 March (6 PM MDT tomorrow).
The NAM is a bit more excited, going for 1.36". The NAM time-height shows the overnight trough passage and then persistent westerly, potentially unstable flow through tomorrow (and into the overnight period.
For these reasons, I'm issuing a forecast that is a bit more pessimistic than most you will see. For 6 PM tonight through 6 PM tomorrow (Monday) I'm going for .7 to 1.4" of water and 7-14 inches of snow at Alta-Collins. That relatively low 10 to 1 snow-to-liquid ratio reflects concerns about high density snow due to the warmth of the storm overnight and the strong wind tomorrow. Ultimately, the snow amounts will depend a great deal on what falls tomorrow, when the snow density should be lower. The NWS is going for 10-20", which I can see verifying if things go bigger tomorrow.
Bottom line: Snow is coming, but keep your expectations tempered. It's always better to be surprised with too much than too little.