Multiple storms will impact BC this weekend & early next week. Whistler & SW BC will see light rain/snow showers initially on Sat then heavy snow & lowering snow levels Sun into Mon. The Interior will stay dry for most of closing weekend at remaining ski areas with light showers arriving Sun aftn & heavier snow Sun night. Cool & wet/snowy conditions will likely prevail across BC thru late April.
Short Term Forecast
Snowpack Update and Season Recap:
The dominant storm track this season has been across the Western U.S. from California to Utah and into parts of Wyoming and Colorado, while snowfall was lighter across most of BC. Also, temperatures were generally colder than average for the season as a whole.
As of April 1st, snowpack (the amount of snow on the ground as measured by water content) was 80-90% of average across most ski regions of Southern BC and 90-100% of average across ski regions of Northern BC. In other words, it was a below-average winter for most areas, but not excessively below average.
The exception was portions of the Okanagan region, including Silver Star and Sun Peaks, where snowfall and snowpack were actually above average this season.
Aside from a few big storm cycles in early November and late November, the early season from November through December was cold and dry across most of BC. The main exception was the Southern Interior, where Fernie and Whitewater received their heaviest snowfall of the season during the month of December. Whistler also ended up having a solid December.
January was mild and dry across most of Southern BC with below-average snowfall and above-average temperatures.
February ended up being the best month of the season with heavier and more consistent snowfall across both Northern and Southern BC along with near-average temperatures. Areas that experienced a relatively slow start to the season enjoyed outstanding powder conditions during February.
March started out active but then turned dry mid to late month. Temperatures were much colder than average, however, which delayed lower-elevation snowmelt compared to normal.
While ski season is winding down in April, so far this month has been a bit more active with some nice late-season powder days for ski areas that remain open. Temperatures have also been colder than average so far this month, so despite the relatively light snow season, the onset of melting is (or is going to be) a bit slower than usual this season.
Forecast for Saturday to Tuesday:
We still have 8 ski areas that are open, but 5 of those 8 areas (plus the Whistler half of Whistler-Blackcomb) will be closing for the season at the end of the day on Sunday.
A slow-moving trough of low pressure will impact the area over the weekend and into early next week, with Sunday and Monday being the two most active days.
Whistler-Blackcomb (mostly Blackcomb due to timing) and Grouse Mountain will see late-season powder conditions by possibly late Sunday but more likely on Monday, while any powder for the Interior will have to be enjoyed in the backcountry since most of the snow will be falling after remaining ski areas close for the season on Sunday.
Coastal BC (including Whistler-Blackcomb):
A leading-edge weak storm will result in rain & snow showers developing during the day on Saturday with activity continuing on Saturday night as more moisture arrives in advance of the main/stronger storm. Snow levels on Saturday will range from 900-1,200 meters (3,000-4,000 feet), meaning Grouse Mountain will be squarely in the rain/snow mix zone while Whistler will see all-snow at mid to upper elevations.
Snowfall during this initial round through Sunday morning will range from 5-15 cm (2-6") at Whistler's mid to upper mountain and for other Coast Range areas above the rain/snow line.
Heavier and more widespread snow can be expected from Sunday morning through Sunday night. A cold front will also move through on Sunday afternoon, with snow levels falling to 150-450 meters (500-1,500 feet) behind the front on Sunday night. Winds will also be strong on Sunday afternoon.
Snow totals from Sunday morning through Monday morning will range from 15-30 cm (6-12") at Whistler-Blackcomb mid to upper mountain and 8-20 cm (3-8") at Grouse Mountain.
Whistler will enjoy fun storm skiing conditions at mid to upper mountain during the day on Sunday. Whistler Mountain will close for the season at the end of the day on Sunday, but Blackcomb will remain open on Monday, and I expect the deepest powder conditions here on Monday morning. Grouse Mountain will also be best on Monday morning.
A relative lull in the pattern is expected early on Monday, then another storm will arrive from the southwest, bringing periods of moderate to heavy snow showers from Monday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.
Snow levels will remain quite low during this period, ranging from 150-600 meters (500-2,000 feet) with additional snow totals on Monday-Tuesday ranging from 10-30 cm (4-12") at Blackcomb and Grouse Mountain. As a result, late-season powder conditions will be even better at these two resorts by Tuesday morning!
Interior BC/Powder Highway:
Spring conditions will prevail during the day on Saturday but clouds will be on the increase, mainly in the form of higher-level clouds that will lead to overcast skies.
A weak disturbance will move through on Saturday night, bringing some scattered light rain/snow showers with snow levels ranging from 1,200-1,500 meters (4,000-5,000 feet). Any snow accumulations will be minimal, ranging from nothing to a couple of centimeters.
Sunday will also start out dry with mostly cloudy skies and mild temperatures, resulting in spring skiing conditions for the final day of the season at remaining open ski areas.
However, rain and snow showers will begin on Sunday afternoon as moisture increases ahead of an approaching stronger storm. Snow levels will be quite high on Sunday, ranging from 1,500-1,800 meters (5,000-6,000 feet).
A cold front will move through early on Sunday evening with heavier and more widespread snow showers developing overnight. Snow levels will also lower to 450-750 meters (1,500-2,500 feet) overnight.
Snow totals on Sunday night will generally range from 5-15 cm (2-6") across the favored western slopes and upper eastern slopes of the Monashees, Selkirks, and Purcells, including Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass.
Light snow showers will linger on Monday morning, then a lull in the action is expected for the rest of the day on Monday and into Monday night. The next wave of snow showers can then be expected from Tuesday morning through Tuesday evening.
Snow levels will range from 450-1,050 meters (1,500-3,500 feet) on Tuesday with snowfall amounts ranging from 5-15 cm (2-6") across the Monashee, Selkirk, Purcell, and Lizard Ranges.
Snow will also fall across Northern BC this weekend with the heaviest snow favoring the Skeena Range on Sunday as a surge of moisture arrives from the south. Hudson Bay Mountain is still open and could see some nice powder conditions on Sunday.
Drier conditions are expected up north on Monday with only some light snow showers/flurries reaching the north on Tuesday.
Outlook for Wednesday (April 19) to Friday (April 21):
The pattern will quiet down a bit during this period but lingering moisture and instability will result in at least a chance of light snow showers/flurries each day. Temperatures will remain quite chilly on Wednesday and Thursday before warming up a bit on Friday.
Outlook for April 22nd-29th:
A relative and temporary warm-up is possible during the weekend of April 22nd-23rd, but confidence is low on whether or not we will see largely dry conditions or if storms will start to move back into the area.
Heading into the final week of April, a cooler and more active pattern is expected to resume with frequent rain/snow showers along with near to below-average temperatures.
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Thank you so much for reading the BC Daily Snow this season and have a great summer!
Projected Ski Resort Closing Dates:
CLOSED (as of April 15):
Whistler Mountain (Blackcomb will remain open until May 22)
Hudson Bay Mountain