Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and predicted an early spring this year. However, there is still plenty of winter left, regardless of what the groundhog says.
A prediction of an early spring doesn’t mean much when it comes to ski resorts across North America. The image (below) shows what the season has produced so far.
The season-to-date observed snowfall has been deep for much of the western United States, especially the northwestern ski areas. Where we have been left yearning for more powder is in the Northeastern U.S. where only a foot of natural snow has fallen this season so far (yellow color).
However, according to Climatologist Brian Brettschneider some areas have merely just reached the “halfway point” of winter.
According to the image (above), 50% of the seasonal snowfall occurs after January 31 in areas shaded in purple, including most of the Rockies, parts of the Appalachians to southern New England, and also the higher mountains of the southwest U.S. There are also a number of places that have not had their snowiest month just yet, including much of the Rockies, which tend to see the snowiest conditions in March.
Regarding the prediction of an early spring from Phil? Brettschneider shared on social media, a graph with data from the National Centers for Environmental Information, showing the date at which we typically have “six more weeks of winter” left in the season, according to climatology.
There is still plenty of time for skiing and riding this season! On average, March snow depth can still be quite expansive around the Contiguous U.S.
However, you’ll want to get out there soon, because by April the average snow depth starts to dwindle quickly, as warmer temperatures take over.
We should note these maps do not include historical data for Canada. That said, because of Canadian resorts’ northern location and typically-colder weather, you can expect winter to last well beyond the prediction of an ‘early spring.’