This winter, it’s all about La Niña (a.k.a. La Niña Lite), which, as precipitation forecast maps show, would mean that the storm track will favor certain areas like the Pacific Northwest, northern Intermountain West, Great Lakes, and possibly parts of the Northeast with heavier than average snowfall and more than superb ski conditions. It’s going to be a strong and good winter for snow enthusiasts, with copious amounts of snowfall, especially in spots like Mount Hood, Whistler, Lake Louise, Sun Valley, Big Sky, Jackson Hole, Squaw Valley, Northstar, and Heavenly.
As we continue to keep a close watch on South Pacific trade winds and water temperatures in the next couple months, here are some snow predictions for each of the 5 big ski regions in the U.S. and Canada to help you plan that upcoming ski trip.
Know Where To Find The Snow This Winter Before You Plan Your Trip
With area resorts such as Kirkwood, Squaw-Alpine, and Heavenly, Tahoe’s another favorite that will likely see stellar powder this season, since winter temperatures and rainfall are cited to be below normal, with below-normal mountain snows.
You’ll find the stormiest periods in late November, mid-December, and mid-January, just in time for the holidays, with the coldest temperatures in early and late December and mid- to late January. Make sure to snuggle up and to stay toasty after making your way down those slopes. (And by the way, here's your guide to Tahoe's ski resorts.)
For the past several years, Whistler’s been voted North America’s top winter resort, offering unrivaled skiing and night life within two mountains that usually see about 12m average of snowfall a year. There’s plenty to do and much to see in Canada, with a large selection of restaurants, a tube park, zip line and bungee opportunities, and so much more.
This ski season, the weather is bound to be colder than normal, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall. The coldest periods will likely be around early and mid- to late December and mid- to late January, with the snowiest periods in early and mid-December and mid-January. The hottest periods of late summer have come and gone by the time autumn rolls around and rainfall will be near normal in the east and above normal in the west. Expect September and October to also be cooler and slightly rainier than typical.
Winter temps will be above normal at sites like Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge-- with precipitation a bit below normal. The entire intermountain region, which spans across California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington will feel its coldest periods around early and mid- to late December and mid- to late January.
Snowfall will be above normal in the north and below normal elsewhere, so take advantage of all that fresh powder come late November and ski your hearts out all the way through the New Year.
So far, the area’s been seeing seasonable weather, with moisture moving in consistently from the south and providing ample showers. Cooler, stormier weather is certainly to come at places such as Alta, Snowbird, and Park City, where the first widespread snowfall of the season has already begun (6-12″ fell in the highest elevations!). Many locations in the northeastern part of the state such as Snowbasin even saw a whole foot fall overnight, and that didn’t include the rain that fell prior to the snow.
Let’s just say that as a trough continues to push into the Western U.S., snow levels in Utah should be very high. Average winter temperatures will be above normal, with precipitation a bit below normal. Expect to freeze your buns off starting in early and mid- to late December and mid- to late January, especially in the north, where snowfall will be way above normal.
Mont Tremblant and Stowe will likely see a colder than normal winter this year, with slightly above-normal precipitation and near-normal snowfall. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, late January, mid- and late February, all the way to mid-March, so expect to get one with the snow all the way through springtime.
The presence of La Niña could also lead to some super huge East Coast systems during the second half of the season, especially in areas like southern New York state and northeastern Pennsylvania, which will see higher-than-normal totals this winter.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.