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Short Range Forecast Discussion - Updated for Sunday September 21, 2014 - Today and Monday we expect increased moisture and thunderstorms/ showers as moisture is pulled across the area from the southwest, out ahead of a closed low pressure system moving across Nevada and into Utah (increased south/ southwest flow of winds). Tuesday through Thursday we expect upper-level high pressure to build back in, then weaken as a strong and cold low pressure system starts pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Mostly dry, sunny and mild conditions are expected for Aspen and the rest of western Colorado, with some isolated afternoon thunderstorms at times. CM
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7 day to 2 week+ forecast (since 1998) - 25 September to 05 October, 2014 - Tuesday through Thursday (23rd-25th) we expect upper-level high pressure to build back in across most of the western US but especially the southwest US, then high pressure weakens as a strong and cold low pressure system starts pushing into the Pacific Northwest and southwest Canada. Snow is expected at higher elevations (5,000-6,000 feet or so) of the Oregon/ Washington Cascades (Wed-Fri) and eventually northern Rocky Mountains (MT and WY plus north Idaho) Thursday through Saturday (25th-27th). Mostly dry, sunny and mild conditions are expected for Aspen and the rest of western Colorado, but thunderstorms and showers increase this coming Friday and Saturday (out ahead of the weekend storm). By next Friday through Sunday (26th-28th September) we see this chilly Gulf of Alaska storm system with snowfall potential for the higher resort elevations, move in across Utah and Colorado. Snow is possible to 8,000 feet or lower next Saturday/ Sunday for northern Utah, then to 9,000 feet or lower next Sunday and Monday (28th-29th) for western Colorado, including Aspen-Snowmass. When this storm clears out we may return to milder and mostly sunny conditions for early October. CM
Longer Range Outlook
As of now, September 2014, we are still on a path to see an El Nino Sea Surface Temperature pattern hold across the Equatorial Eastern Pacific. Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies yield a weak El Nino pattern across the eastern Equatorial Pacific (El Nino development is on track, but it will be weak, still favorable for California and the desert Southwest, plus much of Colorado and northern New Mexico).
A weak El Nino is now being predicted for this fall and winter, into early 2015. It looks like the early season (October/ November) will see more rain and snow for southern and central California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. This should help kick off the early season for places like Mammoth Mountain. This should also help build up a better than average base of snow for Aspen-Snowmass and Taos Ski Valley. Temperatures are expected to be near and below average for these areas as well, which helps. Maybe Thanksgiving will be pretty good for many more areas across the southwest, and even for Squaw Valley in Tahoe. The Northwest US is expecting a drier and milder than usual fall, with less snowfall than average, though with their usual heavy snowfall, especially in the Cascades, this drier/ milder than average fall season could still be good for resorts across the northwest US, mainly along the Cascades, less so inland.
The larger time-scale SST pattern in place right now is still a cool phase PDO, or negative PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation). This is a more long term pattern (decades), and it has made any recent years El Nino SST patterns weaker (it looks like this is the case with the current El Nino, which was expected to be strong initially.
To summarize, the possibility of an El Nino pattern this fall and winter are "likely". Forecasts from other agencies are calling for El Nino conditions to hold this fall and winter. This would favor the southwest US (including southern California and across to Taos Ski Valley, even Aspen, Colorado) for heavier rain and snow this fall and mainly winter (2014-2015), after the wet monsoon summer across the southwest US (we forecast this in the spring). Northwest US areas, and southwest Canada, along with northern Colorado through Wyoming and the northern Rocky Mountains, should expect a drier than average, or near average snowfall winter (2014-2015). Tahoe/ Mammoth should see near average snowfall this winter. This is our outlook for now, and we will update as more info becomes available. All of this information is generated in-house.
We will keep this outlook updated as more information becomes available. If you want to know when the snow is coming (and be able to set unlimited alerts for any resort), within 5 minutes or less of us (our our sources) entering the data into any of our forecasts, be sure to download the app.
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