Friday, August 17, 2012

Winter Will Be Snowy

The high probability of seeing an El Niño year for the upcoming ski season has some local ski areas hoping for an improvement over last year's dismal season — and announcing opening days for the upcoming season.
Consistent with opening days in 2011, local ski areas will open anywhere between mid-October into December depending on weather conditions. "We are hopeful that conditions this year will allow us to open at least by our goal opening day (Nov. 2)", said Katherine Bush, spokeswoman for Copper Mountain Resort. "If we have more snow early than anticipated, we may open earlier".
In Colorado, the eastern plains have the best chances of moisture from October 2012 to June 2013, according to Klaus Wolter, a climatologist who makes long-range forecasts for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder. But things still may bode well for the mountains. "In fact, one could argue that the northern Front Range and Rocky Mountains may end up with the wettest outcome", Wolter said. The last two years have been La Niña seasons and "long-lived La Niña events have a more pronounced tendency to flip to El Niño, 60 percent of two-year events end up in El Niño in the third year", Wolter said.
The presence of El Niño or La Niña - and their strength - is used to project how active the winter season is going to be. AccuWeather.com Long-Range meteorologists are projecting a weak to moderate El Niño by the fall.
An El Niño pattern is classified by above-normal water temperatures in the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean. Warming the ocean water in turn warms the air above the Pacific, causing weather patterns to change globally.
El Niño winters feature a strong southern branch of the jet stream across the U.S.
Along with Wolter, the AccuWeather winter outlook for 2012-2013 calls for above normal snowfall for the High Country. "The ski industry, which despite an early start for some resorts, suffered a slow season overall last winter, will benefit from the above-normal snowfall", the AccuWeather Report stated. "Long-range meteorologists are projecting a moderate El Niño by the fall". Arapahoe Basin Ski Area — which typically vies with Loveland for first-tracks honors — aims to open for the season in mid-October, weather dependent, and will announce the exact date closer to that time.
AccuWeather, established in 1962, is a weather service with headquarters in State College, Pa. They provide local forecasts for everywhere in the United States and over two million locations worldwide. They also provide weather products and services to more than 175,000 paying customers in media, business, government and institutions.
The AccuWeather Full-Length Winter Forecast will be released in October.

Planned Opening Days For Colorado Ski Resorts:

Mid October — Loveland, Arapahoe Basin
Nov. 2 — Wolf Creek, Copper Mountain, Keystone
Nov. 9 — Breckenridge
Nov. 14 — Winter Park
Nov. 16 — Eldora
Nov. 18 — Vail Resort
Nov. 21 — Steamboat, Monarch, Crested Butte
Nov. 22 — Telluride, Aspen/Snowmass, Ski Cooper
Nov. 23 — Purgatory
Dec. 1 — Silverton, Howelsen
Dec. 5 — Echo Mountain
Dec. 7 — Sunlight
Dec. 8 — Aspen Highlands
Dec. 12 — Ski Granby Ranch
Dec. 15 — Buttermilk

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