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SnoCast: Forecast Features Snow Heading into Thanksgiving Week

SundayRiver2_tw_111521 Sunday River in Maine opens Thursday, November 18 following both natural and manmade snow (Sunday River/Twitter)

We’re approaching a huge week for ski country—Thanksgiving is upon us, often marking opening days from coast to coast. This week’s SnoCast has a delicious menu of powder, sun, and chill leading up to the big holiday week. Let's dig in!


After a mild Thursday, a reinforcing shot of colder air pours into the northeast later Thursday as a cold front sweeps across the East. The colder air will last for several days ahead, at last bringing a cooler pattern ski areas have been looking for in the East. Generally light snow, 1-3”, will pepper the East through Friday, with light lake effect snow to the south and east of the major Great Lakes, as well as light mountain-driven (upslope) snow across the Adirondacks and the higher peaks across New England.   

The weekend will generally feature dry and bright skies, with overnight lows in the 20s up and down the Appalachians, through the northeast, and back to the Great Lakes—great conditions for snowmaking Saturday night leading up to the big Thanksgiving holiday week.

Keep an eye on the Great Lakes and northeast Monday-Tuesday (11/22-23) prior to Thanksgiving, as computer models show another big dig of cold air, and possible snow event. While forecast models are not all in good agreement,  and big totals are not guaranteed, it’s the type of pattern that can bring healthy early season snow (and perhaps snarl travel plans) for the northeast and New England peaks, especially. Definitely something to keep a eye on.


In the West, it’s been a story of the “haves” and “have nots”. The northwest and British Columbia have been absolutely inundated with heavy rain and high elevation snow over the past 2-3 weeks as steady streams of Pacific moisture saturate the region. At this point, we actually need a break, since the heavy rain has caused extensive damage in parts of Washington state and British Columbia. However, the high elevations have lucked out with fairly significant snow amounts, too.

Another storm system will bring light to moderate snow late Thursday through Friday for the Washington Cascades, interior northwest (Idaho, northeast Oregon) and northern Rockies (Montana, Wyoming) with a general 3-8” of snow expected. Some localized high peaks may see more than a foot before snow tapers early Saturday, giving way to drier and quieter weather for the Pacific Northwest over the weekend. Good news for places like Schweitzer, Silver Mountain, Jackson Hole, Mt. Baker, up to 49° North and more across the interior northwest. 

Meanwhile, in the Four Corners states and southern Rockies, snow has been hard to come by, and mild weather has been the name of the game as of late, forcing some ski areas to push back opening dates.


In the forecast, a generally mild pattern persists for most of the west with limited snow, with the exception of Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day as colder air develops from the Northwest and pours down to the southern Rockies. This system again will favor the Pacific Northwest, with perhaps light snow trickling down toward Colorado.  

As always through ski season, check in again on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) for another SnoCast to pinpoint regions of best ski conditions. Meantime, keep an eye on opening dates and trail conditions anytime on the snow reports page.

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