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Limited snowfall, as snow level remain high

Hello skiers,

Happy Holidays everyone.

Right now, there is almost enough snow to partially open Washington ski resorts. However, the weather will not be kind to skiers the next few days. Three modest atmospheric rivers (ARs) are ahead, and will curse us high snow levels.

This group of ARs is called a family of ARs, and its not the kind of family visit we want this holiday. It means rain falling on the shallow snowpack. Like a holiday visit from a zany uncle ranting about the government and taxes we can only take so much. Sadly, the existing snowpack will take a beating but not completely disappear. While the highest ski slopes could see snow accumulation at times.


The first atmospheric river (AR) storm will plow in on Thanksgiving Day and is aimed mainly at Whistler and Mt Baker, but all resorts will see rain on snow, with a snow level near 7,000 ft. That means rain in all but the upper slopes. There will be a break in the action later on Friday, then a new AR invades the region on Saturday again aimed toward BC and the North Washington Cascades but everyone will see precipitation, with the snow levels starting low (5,000ft), then rising to 7,000 later on Saturday. The rain falling on snow will continue into Sunday, but the SL may fall a bit to 5,500 ft (mid slopes)

After another break on Monday, a final AR with a 6,000 ft snow level will see more rain fall on our suffering snowpack. The Tuesday/Wednesday storm is focused on the Whistler/Mt Baker areas.

Whistler is opening Thursday the 25th (tomorrow). It seems to me they have a decent early season snowpack. Their upper alpine often gets snow, even with a warm atmospheric river storm. Plus, they are north of us and their general snow levels are about 1000 ft lower than Washington. That said, it will be rainy in the Village and up into the lower alpine (maybe a mix at the Roundhouse) for Thursday, and again on Saturday & Sunday. Next Tuesday might be damp too.

It's not clear what happens after next Wednesday. I really dont have much confidence in a trend. I do see a possibility of a cooling trend with the possibility of increasing Cascade snow, but its uncertain right now.

Mission Ridge: open Nov 26
Silver Mountain: limited, check website
Whistler, BC opens Nov 25

Larry Schick
meteorologist
The Grand Poobah of Powder

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