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Weather forecast help!: Utah vs Montana

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm an easterner planning a drive out west & I've already posted a couple of times asking for advice. Now I'm wondering about adjusting my plans based on weather forecasts for the week of March 10. Of course forecasts this far ahead are not so dependable, but I'll have flexibility in my planning only up to a point. I'm locked into Big Sky for March 12-14 then I have to be in Missoula by the 15th. Before that I was planning to ski Snowbasin March 10-11, but the forecast for Huntsville, UT (closest town to Snowbasin) looks iffy. Temps up to and including my dates will be in the 40's and 50's every day. What does this mean for the mountain? It would be disappointing (to say the least!)  to finally be in powder country and end up on slush. On my way west I can swing north and pass through Montana, with the possibility of Stops at Red Lodge and Bridger Bowl. Forecasts for those places look better: 30's and 40's.

 

Another possibility is Jackson Hole -- forecasts there look okay too. As I say, I'm an east-coaster, and I'm a comfortable black-diamond skier --groomers, not much in the trees -- with no real experience in powder. WIll Jackson kick my butt, or could I have a good time learning?

post #2 of 15

You need to commit to a plan and go for it. The weather will be fine for skiing wherever you go in that time period if the weather patterns are normal. This year the weather has been fairly normal compared to last year. Here's what this area has in store this week:

 

 

 

Jackson will kick your butt. It kicks everyone's butt (except Bob Peters's, of course). But you will enjoy every second of it!

post #3 of 15

utah wyoming and montana get these same basic weather systems. Utah has a lake effect so sometimes you can get a suprise couple of inches. It has been pretty consistent here in little cotton wood. They are calling for some warm weather for this week, but things should be fine. No matter where you go you will have a great time, aslong as you except the conditions for what they are and just ski

post #4 of 15

Where have you skied out west before?  Would help to know where you ski regularly.  A black groomer at a small mountain with mostly locals is quite different from blacks at a large ski resort that has steeps and trees.  If you are willing to take a lesson or two at JH, I bet you could have a good time whether or not there is fresh powder.

 

I ski locally in the southeast, have skied around SLC including Snowbasin, Big Sky, Bridger, and elsewhere out west.  I like to ski powder on black or blue runs at Alta, open glades at Big Sky.  If I were driving to Big Sky, I'd spend a few days at Bridger warming up.  In fact, that's exactly what I'm doing for the EpicSki Gathering.  Also going to check out Grand Targhee for a day.  I'm getting a headstart on the drive by flying to SLC first to meet up with friends before starting the drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MC Ski View Post

I'm an easterner planning a drive out west & I've already posted a couple of times asking for advice. Now I'm wondering about adjusting my plans based on weather forecasts for the week of March 10. Of course forecasts this far ahead are not so dependable, but I'll have flexibility in my planning only up to a point. I'm locked into Big Sky for March 12-14 then I have to be in Missoula by the 15th. Before that I was planning to ski Snowbasin March 10-11, but the forecast for Huntsville, UT (closest town to Snowbasin) looks iffy. Temps up to and including my dates will be in the 40's and 50's every day. What does this mean for the mountain? It would be disappointing (to say the least!)  to finally be in powder country and end up on slush. On my way west I can swing north and pass through Montana, with the possibility of Stops at Red Lodge and Bridger Bowl. Forecasts for those places look better: 30's and 40's.

 

Another possibility is Jackson Hole -- forecasts there look okay too. As I say, I'm an east-coaster, and I'm a comfortable black-diamond skier --groomers, not much in the trees -- with no real experience in powder. WIll Jackson kick my butt, or could I have a good time learning?

post #5 of 15

Keep in mind that the high temps that you posted are probably very normal highs for March.  This is for a typical day under a ridge of high pressure and sunshine.  If a front comes through, it most likely will bring colder air and snow to the mountains.

 

Also, the temps you posted for Huntsville are at a much lower elevation than the skiing at Snowbasin, so it will likely be cooler up on the mountain.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks all!  Around here I usually ski the Catskills, Adirondacks (Whiteface is a good place), Vermont. We've had a frustrating winter here in the NE -- freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw -- it's hit low 60's in VT in January then back down to teens & 20's, so there's been lots of ice everywhere. So I'm really hoping for some real snow on this trip, maybe getting a little hyper about it!  Guess I'll just stick with my plan and take it as it comes.

post #7 of 15

Having skied at Snowbasin in spring conditions . . . in Feb, I would say you'd have a fun time even if you don't catch a powder day.  Blue sky there means great views for exploring all over the mountain.

 

Drive safe!

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MC Ski View Post

Thanks all!  Around here I usually ski the Catskills, Adirondacks (Whiteface is a good place), Vermont. We've had a frustrating winter here in the NE -- freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw -- it's hit low 60's in VT in January then back down to teens & 20's, so there's been lots of ice everywhere. So I'm really hoping for some real snow on this trip, maybe getting a little hyper about it!  Guess I'll just stick with my plan and take it as it comes.

 

If you do end up at Snowbasin on the 10th and are interested in meeting up, let me know.  I can show you around the mountain.

 

Obviously, if you end up somewhere else due to a change in plans, I will completely understand.  It is hard to make specific plans this far out and hit it just right.

post #9 of 15

It means nothing. As you admit, it's too early to tell. Fact is, no one can help you that much. Even weather professionals have no idea what's going to happen in a couple days, let alone a week. 

 

This year has been all over the place at Snowbasin. At times huge "storms of the year" have withered into nothing. Other times 55-degree weeks have led into 3-foot weekends. Typically early March is too early to start thinking spring slush. 

 

With more than a week out, you simply shouldn't trust any forecast. Since you're driving, you can make a last-minute decision. 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

I guess looking at the forecast I didn't have a context for it -- don't know what's "normal" for that mountain and that time frame. Looking a little more it seems the forecast is pretty much in line with the "average" temps (and of course the forecast & what actually happens are two different things). Based on that and what you all say it seems it will probably be fine. Just to hedge my bet I made some backup hotel plans. I'll be in Omaha Thursday night, so that'll be decision time -- I can stick with Snowbasin or head north and swing by Red Lodge and/or Bridger, then on to Big Sky. Come what may I'll be on the slopes so how bad can it be? Then at the end of it, I'll meet my daughter in Missoula, give her the keys to her new truck, and we'll head for Whitefish! Gonna be fun!

 

NeedToSki, thanks for the offer to show me around! I'll keep it in mind & if I do end up at Snowbasin I'll send you a PM. 

 

Thanks again, all, for the advice. First time I've used EpicSki for this kind of thing -- what a great resource! For all you westerners, if you ever come east I'll be glad to return the favor -- but somehow I doubt that'll happen :) Scraped-down ice, anyone?

post #11 of 15
Sounds like you already know Whitefish, but if you want to take a run or two, PM me.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Sibhusky -- Yes, spent a lot of time there, both summer & winter, the last several years. Do you know Purple Frog Gardens? My daughter works there in the summer -- she's a student at UM Missoula. I've been studying your guide to the mountain -- really nice! I'll keep your offer in mind!

post #13 of 15

I know OF them and where they are, but don't know the owners or anything.  If y'ou've been here in the summer, you may have met my daughter who was a Walk in the Treetops guide the last two summers.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by MC Ski View Post

Sibhusky -- Yes, spent a lot of time there, both summer & winter, the last several years. Do you know Purple Frog Gardens? My daughter works there in the summer -- she's a student at UM Missoula. I've been studying your guide to the mountain -- really nice! I'll keep your offer in mind!

post #14 of 15

If you want good snow, forget Red Lodge Mountain and go to Bridger Bowl.  This has not been a good season for Red Lodge.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

If you want good snow, forget Red Lodge Mountain and go to Bridger Bowl.  This has not been a good season for Red Lodge.
I guess I won't be using my free tickets. :-)
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Weather forecast help!: Utah vs Montana