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Winter 17-18: White and Wintry? Or Warm and Dry?


Just like throwing darts at a dartboard, predicting the weather three to six months out is a crapshoot, to say the least. But, as we head into the final stretch of summer, skiers and snowboarders are getting stoked for any tidbits of winter stoke they can dream of sinking an edge into.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Prediction Center released its 3 and 6-month temperature and precipitation forecasts for the 2017-18 ski and snowboard season recently and based on their observations, winter will indeed arrive on Dec. 21, but when and where it will snow, and how much will fall is anybody’s guess.

“These forecasts cover three months, but we know that skiing quality improves and degrades with storm cycles that last a few days to a week,” noted OpenSnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz. “Remember that paying attention to a 1-10 day forecast is the way that you'll find powder. These 3-6 month outlooks offer little to no value for us skiers searching for pow.”

October through December precipitation.

But search we will! So according to the 3-month prediction, every area of the U.S. has an “Equal Chance” for above, normal or below precipitation, except for south-central Texas, which has an “Above Average” chance for precipitation. But nobody skis there anyway. Looking at the 6-month forecast, every part of the country will see an “Equal Chance” for above, normal or below precipitation.

When it comes to temperatures though, the warming trend continues with a 30-60 percent chance of the entire country experiencing above normal temperatures through December, with an “Equal Chance” for above, normal or below temperatures for the upper Midwest for the January through March period.

At the end of the day, there is not much to get stoked about. However, last season’s 3 and 6-month forecasts were completely inaccurate too. So go for a mountain bike ride, go fishing, hiking or golfing while you can, because summer is only around for a few more weeks and snowmaking season is right around the corner at Killington, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin.

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