Those who braved the traffic were rewarded with knee deep powder. I would describe the skiing as good, not great. A spongy layer of high-density snow to start would have helped reduce the bottom feeding, but this year, beggars can't be choosers.
Snowfall produced by the front went largely as advertised by the models, at least in the upper Cottonwoods. Alta-Collins had .59" of water and 7 inches of snow through 8 AM this morning. This compares very well with the NAM forecast we discussed on Tuesday, which put out .64" of water and 8 inches of snow (see Frontal Snowfall Event on Tap for Late Tomorrow and Tomorrow Night). The observed water totals are also near the middle of what was advertised by the University of Utah downscaled SREF ensembles. The model wizards can be happy about this period.
I suspect that those hoping for a true storm ski day were a bit disappointed, however, with today's offering. Light snow fell for much of the day, but since 8 am it added up to only .15" and 2 inches of snow at Alta Collins, which is probably a bit more than what we saw where we were ski touring in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Quite frankly, the orographic forcing today simply sucked, which we discussed as a possibility yesterday (see Probabilistic Snowfall Forecasting). The morning sounding shows the situation quite well. The atmosphere was quite moist, but also generally stable below 700 mb (10,000 ft), with a strong stable just above, which is associated with the front aloft. The flow at low levels was northerly, but swung to southwesterly in the strong stable layer. This is simply not a recipe for orographic enhancement.
During the afternoon, the flow on Alta-Mt. Baldy slowly shifted to northwesterly to westerly, but remained weak and with high atmospheric stability, wasn't generating much at upper elevations.
Instead, the radar loop below shows the development of the strongest echoes along the east bench and within the lower canyons through 0028 UTC (5:28 PM MST).
Driving down Big Cottonwood late this afternoon, it was clearly snowing harder in the very bottom of the canyon and along the east bench than it was in the upper canyon. Note that you can also see this effect in the Oquirrh Mountains where the radar returns, especially later in the loop are stronger on the lower and mid elevation western slopes.
The devil is in the details.