Information compiled by Amber Travsky

We get a full-blown return to winter today as the snow falls and winds howl. According to the forecast, it could turn into a classic blizzard with snow drifting and roads closing. The storm extends through Thursday evening and then the switch turns off. High pressure arrives by Friday as we enter a quiet period heading into the weekend and early next week. Temperatures will remain somewhat below normal due to all the snow on the ground, but it could get into the mid-40s by Sunday. With winds easing, expect an excellent weekend to enjoy all forms of winter snow activities.

The Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area is getting hammered with snow and wind today. Up to 18 inches of snow could blanket the area between now and Thursday morning. This is on top of the dump last weekend, where over a foot of snow graced the slopes. The weekend looks to be pleasant and a great chance to enjoy all that snow with blue skies.

This big storm today and into tomorrow will deliver only light snow to northwest Wyoming. Both Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee expect 1-4 inches of snow overnight but then sunny skies and warm temperatures on Thursday.

The storm will bring plenty of snow to both Steamboat and Winter Park. In fact, much of the Colorado high country will bear the brunt of the storm with plenty of new snow before the weather calms down for a rather quiet and pleasant weekend.

The snow continues to fall in the Medicine Bow Mountains. At Keystone, near Rob Roy Reservoir, there has been a total of 186 inches of snow so far this season, according to Don Day Jr. at www.dayweather.com. This is a 15-inch increase from last week and well ahead of the 158 inches reported by this time last year.

The snow gauge at the Chimney Park Nordic trails, located 9 miles west of Woods Landing, showed 3½ feet of base as of last weekend. There was another half-foot of powder on top of that, making for plenty of snow on all the trails. Most routes are user-packed with no grooming expected before the weekend.

Similar conditions with a lot of snow but no actual grooming are also reported on all the ski trails off Highway 130: Barber Lake, Little Laramie, Corner Mountain and Libby Creek.

Well over a foot of new snow is expected “up top” in the Snowy Range today. Whiteout conditions are possible until winds ease on Thursday. Sunny skies are expected Friday and on through the weekend, but temperatures are expected to only reach the teens.

Personnel at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center report the avalanche danger for the southern Wyoming and northern Colorado mountains is rated “moderate” at all elevations. Deeply buried weak layers are not as big of an issue as they are to the south in central Colorado. Still, the risk of avalanche activity is certainly present and caution is urged for anyone traveling in the backcountry.

Conditions are outstanding at the Happy Jack Recreation Area. High winds last Saturday created considerable drifting, but the light breeze on Sunday allowed for excellent grooming with setting of new classic tracks on all the Nordic trails. This time of year, it’s a roll of the dice on conditions, but this upcoming weekend could be very good with new snow again today.

The multi-use trails at Happy Jack were packed and in excellent shape last weekend. Expect some icy patches on the low trails such as Pole Creek Trail. With the storm today, it may take a couple of days for the routes to get packed and then another day to set up a firm base.

Snow depths reported at the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service snow measuring stations showed another week of increases over last week. The station at Sand Lake on the northern end of the Medicine Bow Mountains shows a snow depth of 90 inches, a 7-inch increase from last week. There is 71 inches reported at the station for Cinnabar Park, a 6-inch increase from last week, and 77 inches reported at Brooklyn Lake, an 11-inch increase over last week. The station at North French Creek, on the west side of the mountain, reports a depth of 92 inches, a 10-inch increase from last week. The measuring site on Crow Creek on Pole Mountain shows 21 inches, a 1-inch decrease from last week.

Cross-country skiing

Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Recreation Area Nordic ski trails: Excellent to outstanding conditions with daily grooming for skate skiing and classic techniques.

Chimney Park Nordic ski trails: Over 3 feet of snow on the trails; user-packed with no new grooming.

Snowy Range backcountry ski conditions: Outstanding conditions with over 12 inches expected today; routes are user-packed.

Snowmobile conditions

Snowy Range: Outstanding conditions with more powder arriving today; the weekend looks to be clear and chilly.

Quick Numbers

Wyoming Downhill Areas:

Snowy Range Ski Area: 53-inch base; 5 lifts, 33 runs and 100 percent of terrain open.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: 117-inch base; 12 lifts, 114 trails and 86 percent of terrain open.

Grand Targhee: 116-inch base; 5 lifts, 95 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Snow King: 57-inch base; 3 lifts, 33 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

White Pine: 36-inch base; 2 lifts, 27 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Colorado Downhill Areas:

Arapahoe Basin: 92-inch base; 9 lifts, 125 trails and 86 percent of terrain open.

Breckenridge: 98-inch base; 34 lifts, 187 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Copper Mountain: 83-inch base; 23 lifts, 143 trails and 91 percent of terrain open.

Eldora: 45-inch base; 10 lifts, 65 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Keystone: 77-inch base; 20 lifts, 128 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Loveland: 83-inch base; 10 lifts, 94 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Steamboat: 112-inch base; 16 lifts, 169 trails and 100 percent of terrain open.

Winter Park: 92-inch base; 19 lifts, 166 trails and 99 percent of terrain open.

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