The Mountain Forecast

With all the snow in the forecast, I thought this might be an interesting exercise for my readers. There are numerous weather forecasts on the internet to choose from including The Weather Network, Environment Canada, Farm Zone, and the most unusual one of all, the Mountain Forecast.

The Mountain Forecast will give you a highly detailed forecast for individual mountains throughout the Rockies. For example, here’s the forecast for Mt Rundle:

The forecast for Mt Rundle. Click for a larger image

The forecast for Mt Rundle. Click for a larger image

It also gives you a couple different forecasts for each mountain depending on the elevation.  For Mt Rundle, you can get the forecast at 2000 metres and at the top, 2949 metres.

To put things in perspective, 2000 metres is about 700 metres higher than the town of Canmore. You’ll get a lot more snow at 2000 metres than you will at 1300 metres. The Goat creek trailhead which is near Mt Rundle, is at 1680 metres.

I’ve compiled a table which gives the predicted snowfall over the next three days of certain mountains which are near cross-country ski trails. Now don’t get too excited by the amounts because most of the elevations of the ski trails are a lot lower. Hopefully half of this amount will make it down to the trails.

The top of Elk pass is about 2000 metres. Do you know which mountain in the table is near Elk pass? Will it receive the predicted amount of snow?

Mountain forecast
Barbara B sent this reply to the quiz, and got them all correct:

Hi Bob –
Thanks for an interesting riddle.  A couple of these had me stumped, trying to figure out which portion of a trail is closer to a mountain.  For example, Bill Milne and Kananaskis Village Trails – where are they closer to Mount Kidd & The Wedge.  And is Spray River or Goat Creek more along Rundle, or which one of these could be punted over to tunnel Mountain?  Plus, I think the colour-coding was in there to throw us off.  Kept me occupied for a while as I sit here recovering from foot surgery and trying to find out when, oh when, I’ll be able to ski again. I look at all those trip reports longingly …
Answers from Barabara B

Answers from Barbara B



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  1. Hi Bob.
    I recommend you add a link on your web-site to all these weather sites. Many of them I’ve never heard of before.

  2. You should also try , the Norwegian weather service. It will provide detailed weather forecasts for anywhere in the world. For around here, for example, you can get specific forecasts for Highwood Pass, Upper Kananaskis Falls, Spray Lakes Reservoir, Bluerock Mountain, Bragg Creek, etc.

    I think the information is very well presented, but there are a couple of odd things:
    -snowfall amounts are always shown as mm of water (usually 1mm of water equals 1cm of snow).
    -wind speeds are shown in meters per second, not the km/hr we are used to
    -times are off by 7 hours, because it uses the Norway time zone
    -temperatures are usually estimated to be about 3-4C colder than it really is here.

    By the way, Mountain Forecast also tends to predict temperatures about 3-4C colder than what we actually get.

    • is the ski-specific companion website to Mountain Forecast. You can get base/mid/top elevation weather forecasts for all ski resorts and backcountry lodges. For example:
      Nakiska ( ) is essentially a forecast for the Ribbon Creek Trails.
      Fortress is representative of the Smith-Dorrien Valley,
      Banff/Norquay is accurate for Spray/Goat and Cascade areas
      Lake Louise is great for Lake Louise.

      Great find, I’ll be adding it to my bookmarks. -Bob

      • By mistake, I typed ‘’ without the hyphen.
        You get a completely different snow forecast site.
        Here is their page for Sunshine Village. While it shows promise of displaying historical weather data, it doesn’t appear to do so, but the forecast looks fairly consistent with the real ‘’ site.

        I’m curious what Alf and others know about this other site.

        • Hold it. This is cool!
          The ‘Snow Maps’ page on ‘’ has colourful maps which indeed promise to give the total snow depth, 24 hour snowfall etc., even though their ‘Previous 24 and 48 hour snowfall’ records don’t seem to be active on the individual forecast pages.

    • is predicting the following amounts to Friday, Nov 28
      Bragg Creek =18.1 mm
      Ribbon Creek = 26.2 mm
      Peter Lougheed Park = 37.2 mm
      Spray Lakes (Mt Shark) = 26.2 mm
      Canmore = 26.2 mm
      Banff = 26.9 mm
      Lake Louise = 39.4 mm
      … so how come Environment Canada doesn’t even know Lake Louise exists?

    • Alf, you had mentioned the Norwegian to English translation of ‘yr’.
      Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to mean ‘drizzle’, which I think is a very funny name for a weather site especially for those looking for snow.

      Now, what I also discovered are some words related to snow in which ‘yr’ is part of the word:

      – Wet snow with a “porridge” consistency: snøgyrje
      – An old word for mild weather that melts snow in December, while one is baking traditional Norwegian flat bread : lefsetøyr
      – Tracks left after ski or sledge: dyrgje


      • Fascinating…
        and here are 100 Inuit words for Snow:
        I think we are currently getting “Ashtla”.
        Maybe we should get out there!

        • Chuck, your recent weather has certainly been a ‘pain in the ashtla’.
          I hope you get a dump in the next couple of days.

          Wagering on the snow forecast sounds like something they would do in Great Britain, where they appear to bet on anything, but you never know, it could turn into a money maker.

        • It always thrills me to see TLIYEL when I’m out sking. It would be nice to be involved in creating some EROLINYAT this winter. Luckily, track skiers don’t have much chance of falling into TLAYOPI.

          They have a great word for melted snow: wa-ter.

      • Yr has several meanings… light drizzle, joyful or wild. has forecasts for 7 million places on earth and is the 5th most visited weather site in the world. (According to Wikipedia)

        • Right. I also found it under the ‘About Us’ at
          Here is the Google translation of their wording, which I have to chuckle at.

          About Us:
          “What is yr?

          The meteorological definition: Drizzle is a the peer and easy form of precipitation. Drop resized to yrdropar is less than regndropar, is normally about 0.5 mm in diameter or less. Yr cast Ordinarily from stratiform (layered) clouds, but in the summer case fall from låge cumulus. Here in this country occurs yr usually in conjunction with varmfrontar and då often in warm sector between ein warm front and cold front ein.
          Other interpreting word yr: happy, wanton; wild, crazy, horny, laussleppt; Dazed myriad small kvervlar in sea surface after ein fish shoal”

  3. Depends which Elk Pass you are talking about!
    There is one in Kananaskis and one in Banff.
    Chuck, I think you may be the only reader who skis to to the Banff Elk Pass, and I’m looking forward to your trip report! -Bob

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