Meadows Blog

Matt Zaffino January 8 Powder Alert

Matt Zaffino Powder Alert
The week begins with warmer air and snow levels rising above 5,000 feet. But keep your powder dry for dry powder, because that's what's on the way.
A strong cold front will drop through the Northwest tonight. The mountains will get plastered with snow with the front Tuesday night and Wednesday. There will be new snow to ride for sure on Wednesday, but it also looks like a nasty day weather-wise on the mountain, with strong winds and increasing colder temperatures. BUT.. it ALSO should be one of those awesome days when you make a run, and by the time you make your next run your old tracks are covered over with new snow. Gotta love days like that.
My powder pick this week is Thursday. Lots of fresh snow from Wednesday, probably 6 to 10 inches new on Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor, with the coldest temperatures of the week. Snow showers will be adding light layers of fluff throughout the day as the sun comes in and out of the clouds, and the winds will be lighter. This may be a champagne edition powder day, if we get enough snow at the colder temperatures that arrive Wednesday night.
For Friday and the weekend there will be a little new snow, maybe a few inches from snow showers. But it'll stay COLD, keeping the snow in great shape. And there will be sun, at least at times.
The long range forecast shows a massive ridge of high pressure developing offshore next week. That will keep the Oregon mountains dry and mainly sunny, with gradually, slowly, warming temperatures. So there won't be much new snow next week, but it'll be a great time to enjoy the deep snowpack at the resorts and take in our awesome alpine scenery.
Matt Zaffino
Chief Meteorologist

KGW Media Group

Republished from SkiOregon.Org Powder Alert
(Matt Zaffino has been forecasting powder days in Oregon for over 25 years. An avid back-country telemark skier, he’s hit the slopes of Oregon from his previous home near Mt Ashland to secret powder stashes in the Wallowa’s, while logging as many runs as possible at all of the resorts in the Oregon Cascades.)


  1. Jon

    January 11, 2013

    How come Heather Canyon is closed now?

    Jon: That's a good (and fair) question. Here is the reply from our patrol director:
    "The skiing in the Canyon and Reserve yesterday (and today) was horrendous. All of the new snow has blown either into thin ribbons or gone elsewhere leaving vast stretches of un-edgible bubble ice in the un-treed portions of the upper and lower canyon. The accordion team had an extremely difficult time getting across the upper canyon to complete the route, using the term survival skiing. Anywhere in the trees - lower Heather and the reserve - we have frozen chunder/tree bombs with a dusting of blower powder. When patrollers tell me the skiing is horrible/dangerous and whoever goes to work on the accordion rope line needs crampons and the skiing in the reserve is terrible and awful...I believe them."

    It most likely will take several freeze / thaw cylces and a wetter heavier snow to bond to this layer before the canyon will be opened. And then we will still be concerned (as always) about layering. Thanks for the question.

  2. Jon

    January 15, 2013

    Thanks for the response. I've skied HC/Reserve in those conditions and its the worst experience someone can have on the hill. I guess I need some convincing when the term "unfavorable conditions" is used, but I know now what that means. I was worried the snow bridges had weakened, so this is somewhat better news. Now if we could just get a couple feet of new snow...

    Meadows: Thanks Jon. Unfavorable doesn't even begin to describe how horrendous the experience in Heather is with these conditions. While we wait for the next snow, we'll see if the sunshine and warming weather will create some freeze thaw. It will take a lot, it's a very thick layer of ice in the canyon right now.

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