Updated – 12/21/20

Ho, ho, ho, the holidays are in sight and we’re very excited to be looking at a 7-day forecast with some decent potential for snowfall. Over the past weekend, storms flooded the Western US under a northwest flow that brought cold temps and moisture to the majority of the Great Basin. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, California, and the PNW all saw snow and although the storm will take a break on Monday, it should return on Tuesday, delivering significant snowfall to the Inter-mountain West before leaving us with blue skies for the majority of the west by Christmas Day. 

Related: Make your 2021 winter plans with RSVP – Refundable Ski Vacation Packages by Ski.com

2020 Christmas Winter Weather Outlook 

Who will get the most snow this Christmas? 

The Western US: 

Forecast radar for 12/23/20 | Image: NOAA

One more wet day is in store for the Pacific Northwest today, as Pacific moisture continues streaming in. Given wet antecedent conditions, the additional rain could lead to isolated minor river flooding, ponding on roadways, and the possibility for landslides. Then by this evening, a strengthening low pressure system is forecast to track near the
northwestern U.S./southwestern Canadian border and sweep a cold front across the Northwest states. This will lower snow levels and then spread precipitation farther east as the front moves through the Great Basin and Rockies by Tuesday. Precipitation in the form of snow is expected in the Great Basin and Rockies, with some mixing of rain in lower elevations of the Northern High Plains. Snow totals should be highest in higher elevations, with snowfalls of 6 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts across the Northern Rockies, Sawtooth Mountains/Bitterroots, and Wind River Mountains/Tetons. Then this system will spread light precipitation into parts of the central U.S. late Tuesday into Wednesday. – NOAA (12/21/20)

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook 

Colorado: Northern Mountains Get The Goods

A northwestern flow will bring cold temps and significant precipitation to the northern mountains of Colorado including Steamboat Resort and perhaps, Winter Park Resort. The western mountains, as well as the central mountains of Colorado, remain a tossup while most models have the southwest being left with sunny skies through the holiday.

Utah: Moderate Snowfall For The Wasatch

Snowfalls will be limited to the single digits for portions of the Wasatch Front including Alta and Snowbird. Orographics favor the Salt Lake side but Park City should squeeze out a couple inches on Tuesday evening.

California: Mostly Sunny, Chance of Precip on Tuesday

Most of California will remain under a ridge of high pressure this week, meaning mostly sunny skies with the exception of a slight chance of snow for the mountains of North Lake Tahoe on Tuesday.

Northern Rockies: Toss up

In Idaho, Sun Valley and Schweitzer have both been benefitting greatly under the current Northwest Flow and while the jet stream is projected to bring moisture north of Hailey and Ketchum this week, Schweitzer will get hammered today and tomorrow. Further west, Montana will also continue to get snowfall today and tomorrow at Whitefish Mountain Resort and Big Sky Resort. In Wyoming, Jackson Hole will see significant accumulations on Tuesday before sunny skies take over through Friday.

Pacific Northwest: Snow on Christmas?

Looking for snow on Christmas day? Your best chance will be in the Pacific Northwest, where snow is projected to fall today and tomorrow before returning mid-day on Christmas to places like Oregon’s Mt Bachelor.

New Mexico: Sunny and Warm

New Mexico will remain mostly in the sun this week with a brief disturbance on Wednesday that could bring a trace of new snow to the slopes of Taos Ski Valley. That said, temperatures should remain cold and thanks to early season snowfall, things are already filling in nicely.


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