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Sun and lots of it

If you like skiing in the sunshine, youll really enjoy the next six days. Expect lots of clear weather in the mountains through Thursday
(Jan31). A ridge of high pressure has built in over the Pacific NW and will provide the clear skies, while blocking storms, then shoving our snow to the north (SE Alaska). This is a high confidence and stable weather pattern -- not likely to change much until later next week. Yes, expect mostly sunny skies and groomers for your weekend and beyond.

There are a couple of nuances with the mostly clear weather pattern. Expect some occasional clouds, but overall it will be mostly sunny. Dont forget the sunscreen. Also, it may be cloudy or foggy in the lowlands (lowland Puget Sound) in the morning, but it will be mostly clear above 3,000 to 4,000 ft, with drier above the moist air below. The ski slopes are generally high enough to be above the low-level moist air. Youll be skiing in the sun, above the low clouds.

Another bit of advice. Off the groomers, the snow will be of variable quality, and mainly firm packed. Pick your off- piste carefully, if at all. Even some of the groomers may be a bit solid in the morning chill. Earlier this week we had an issue with the moderately high snow levels followed by a freeze which firmed up the off-piste in the Cascades. That pattern is still with us, off the groomers. The Inland NW escaped this rain, then freeze cycle, as a result, the powder remains good at Powder Poobah supporter Silver Mountain, Idaho. Another note: south facing slopes like Ferks (Iceberg) at Crystal and much of the backside at Stevens (Mill Valley) will be firm in the morning, but once they soften in the beaming sun by late morning or early afternoon, they should be really nice. Winds will be light making for a pleasant day and maybe a hint of spring in the calm weather as you face the sun.

Even with the ski area snow packs near normal, be aware of occasional thin spots on in the snow on the ridges and well-traveled areas. Sometimes the grooming cats have accidentally groomed up some soil mixed in with the snow on the steeper slopes.

The mostly sunny weather pattern will remain until Thursday, then the high pressure loses its influence and the gates start to open up for more snow by next Friday (Feb 1) That is a ways off and things can change. Details to come.

Meanwhile, enjoy the sun and favor the groomed.

Your Grand Poobah of Powder
Larry Schick meteorologist

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