SundayRiver_tw_040321 Setting sail into some great final days of spring skiing, including at Sunday River in Maine (SundayRiver/Twitter)

 

With the final days of ski season closing in, we’re taking a look ahead at weather conditions through the end of April and also looking back on this snow season across North America.

Eastern U.S. & Canada 

With still quite a few ski areas open in the Northeast, and some in the Midwest, those hitting the slopes through this weekend will want to wear the “spring gear”.  Above average temperatures will bring soft trails and spring conditions at least through mid-next week. Here's the 5-day temperature outlook as compared to average--notice all the reds indicating above normal temps in the East.

5-day temperatures outlook as compared to average from April 9-14, showing much above average temps in the east, and below average temps in the Rockies and West (TropicalTidbits.com)

 

The pattern does change up toward the middle and end of the month, say after April 15 with a colder push of air returning from Canada into the eastern U.S. If trails can keep their snow until then, there will be a window of opportunity for ski areas to make snow next weekend and beyond to see how far they can extend the season!

See who’s open in the Northeast, Midwest, and Quebec

Western U.S. & Canada

The Pacific Northwest has new snow in the cards Thursday and again Saturday, with the Cascades and peaks of Idaho and Montana grabbing a few fresh inches at least, with locally more than a foot at the highest peaks of the Cascades and B.C. Coast Range through Sunday. The image below shows a computer model snow forecast through Sunday, where teal colors reach over 12 inches.  

Model output snowfall through Sunday, April 11 across the Pacific Northwest and western Canada (TropicalTidbits.com)

 

In general, the West—including the Rockies, Pacific Northwest, and western Canada--will hang onto below average temperatures for most of the next 2 weeks, before a warmer turn toward the end of the month. This should keep ski areas able to turn chairs into May for those ambitious few.

See who’s open in the Rockies, Northwest, Southwest, British Columbia, and Alberta

Sunshine and blue sky over a snowy hillside at Snowbasin. A tree branch is focused in the foreground (Snowbasin/Twitter)

Looking Back at the 2020-2021 Snow Season

In a nutshell, this season did not pan out as expected (as seasonal forecasts go). The outlook from NOAA, shared early in the season here on SnoCountry.com, called for a strong influence from the La Nina pattern across North America. This would typically mean a wet and cold northern tier and Canada, with drier than average conditions in the south/southwest.

While much of the dry signal verified across the south, the dryness that developed in the northern tier of the United States was not anticipated. On the other hand, the Pacific Northwest and the eastern seaboard had a wetter-than-average winter. This meant the forecast verified for the South and the Pacific Northwest, but not for the Mid-Atlantic through coastal Northeast.

U.S. map of season snow total from September to April (NOHRSC/NOAA)

(left) Temperature forecast for December-February 2020-21, made in mid-November. The colors show the forecast category with the highest probability. White areas are where all three outcomes (warm, cool, or average) were equally likely (each had a 33.3% chance of happening). (right) Observed temperature category for December-February 2020-21. (Climate.gov image based on CPC data)

Precipitation forecast for December-February 2020-21, made in mid-November. The colors show the forecast category with the highest probability. White areas are where all three outcomes (wet, dry, average) were equally likely (each had a 33.3% chance of happening). (right) Observed precipitation category for December-February 2020-21. (Climate.gov image based on CPC data)

 

The images above and season verification can be read in full on climate.gov. Basically, looking at all possible patterns and forecast trends, Mother Nature still did whatever she wanted this season. Not always the case with seasonal outlooks, but things didn’t work out as planned this season. 

For that, we’re so glad you checked in each week with us here on SnoCountry.com for a new SnoCast to keep up with the ever-changing forecasts on a weekly basis where there is more certainty in the forecast. We are looking forward to an even better 2021-2022 season. 

The farewell from Bolton Valley in Vermont really says it all, and the sentiment is likely shared by many ski areas this season. Thank you for supporting your nearby ski areas, and for complying with all the new safety regulations this year. ‘Til next season, skiers and riders!