By now most obsessive PNW skiers have heard that NOAA is calling for another La Nina year. The predictions I’ve read have been for a “Mild La Nina,” which is what we had this last year. Looking at the maps you can really see the commonalities between last year, and what the guys and gals over at NOAA are calling for this coming year.

For those of you who don’t understand why this is good news for skiing take a look at these maps.

El Nino La Nina

See how warm things get during an El Nino year? The 97/98 season (the worst snow accumulation on record) was a strong El Nino year. But check out how nice and wet it gets during the winter here in the PNW during a La Nina year. Typically she also brings us colder temperatures, and there you have it: the recipe for a good snow year!

The maps below are for the coming winter. Each map represents an average of three months (October/November/December, November/December/January, etc.)

Average Temperatures

Take a look at how the average temperature drops below average from about December through May. We’ve noticed over the last several years that the really good snow doesn’t get here until late January to late March. This year doesn’t look to be any different. A bummer for those who ski only during the holidays.

Average Precipitation

Now notice the average precipitation, above average from about October through March. With the combination of below average temps and above average precip, we’re looking at a good 3 months of snowfall from December through March. Again, the good accumulation will be later in the season.

Just when you think it might not get any better, those late season cold temps (through May) will preserve some snow up high for some great spring skiing.

All of us at the shop are stoked about this up coming season. We hope you are too!

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