An active pattern across the Rockies continues to deliver late-season snow to the remaining ski areas that are open in Colorado. Later this week, a storm will bring high elevation snow to the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies, and over the weekend, portions of the Northern U.S. Rockies (especially Montana) could see heavy snow.
Short Term Forecast
May Snowpack Update
Open ski areas in Northern Colorado including Winter Park, Loveland, A-Basin, and Breckenridge have all received new snow during the first week of May.
In terms of snowpack (i.e. the amount of snow on the ground), most of the Western U.S. is below average heading into May, except for Washington where snowpack is comfortably above average. Snowpack is also generally above average in British Columbia, Alberta, and Southeast Alaska.
Now that we're well into spring backcountry skiing season, OpenSnow's interactive snow depth map (available with an All-Access Subscription) is a great resource to get an idea of conditions for areas you're interested in skiing or riding as the snowpack recedes. This is also helpful for planning early summer activities when lingering snow could be an issue.
Below is a more zoomed-in version of the snow depth map to give a better idea of the detail you can get with this feature. This particular image is focused over Southwest Montana near Bozeman, where snow depth estimates can be seen more clearly over the Madison, Gallatin, and Beartooth Ranges as well as Yellowstone National Park.
Forecast for Tue, May 4 – Wed, May 5
Colorado will see some leftovers early on Tuesday morning, then a disturbance arriving from the northwest will bring additional high elevation snow showers to areas near the Continental Divide from Alberta to Northern New Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Forecast for Thu, May 6 – Fri, May 7
A storm will impact the Pacific Northwest on Thursday and Friday with high elevation snow for the Cascades, British Columbia Interior, and Alberta Rockies. A cold storm will impact the Northeast during this time as well, and higher elevations in New York and New England could see wet snow mix in with rain at times.
Forecast for Sat, May 8 – Sun, May 9
High elevation snow will linger across the Pacific Northwest into Saturday while the main focus of the storm will shift into the Northern U.S. Rockies. Southwest Montana and areas along the Continental Divide into Central/Northern Montana could potentially see heavy snow amounts.
Outlook for Mon, May 10 – Fri, May 14
Areas near the Continental Divide will be the most favored for picking up new snow during the second week of May as a northwest flow-dominated storm track remains in place with drier conditions west of the Continental Divide.
This is my final forecast for the season, thanks so much for reading! Have a great summer and look for the next update in October as we gear up for the 2021-2022 season!
Also, check out OpenSummit (website & app) which provides mountain-specific weather forecasts for hikes and summits across the United States. Importantly, we include a forecast for lightning risk which is especially useful when planning adventures near and above treeline.
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