A timely post on opensnow.com today:
First, a quick note about forecasting deep powder days. Last Friday was a great day for many northern resorts (Steamboat, Loveland, Breckenridge, Vail) as many of you found deeeeep powder days. Some folks expressed frustration that my forecast was too low and caused them to miss these days. In actuality, the forecast was about right, but some parts of these mountains saw snow that was twice as deep (or more) compared to the official resort measurement. I can't wait for the day when we have our own computer model and I can say "Vail will report 12 inches from Wednesday through Friday, but it'll ski like 24 inches in the bowls". However, that's not possible right now, so on any days that look like they could be fun, you just need to go skiing, explore the mountain, and perhaps find snow that's far better than you hoped. For the three-day period last Wednesday through Friday, I forecasted up to 13" at Vail (they reported 12") and up to 19" at Steamboat (they reported 12"). The discrepancy comes when some areas of the mountain get a lot more snow than the official measurement, or when days and day and days of consistent snow ski way deeper than simply the addition of each day's report. Trust me, I hate not being able to tell you that certain areas of certain mountains will see massive powder days, but that's not possible with our current models just yet, at least for many mountains. We'll get there, and your support for this site will allow us to build our own models to hopefully never let you miss another powder day.