While 2012 may have been a dismal snow year in the west, it was incredibly fruitful time for end-of-the-world prognosticators. Whether you’re Mayan, an acolyte of Nostradamus, Egyptian, Hopi Indian, or an adherent to the I Ching, it’s all coming to an end this December. But how can that be, on the doorstep of another ski season? Not even remotely possible; silly Mayans.
According to various modern day shaman, this winter will be either warmer than normal or colder than normal, with either above or below average snowpack, all depending upon location. Well thanks guys. That is a huge help. Science, though, says it’s dependent upon a combination of El Nino power, the Arctic Oscillation, and the North Atlantic Oscillation, and that “We feel 65% confident that we’ll see a weak to moderate El Nino and for snow lovers this is a “good” thing.” Yay for our side!
The water dowser types, however, look to their trustworthy Farmer’s Almanac, which states:
- Temperatures will be much colder this winter from the East Coast westward to a line from the Dakotas to Texas.
- In every place west of this line, except for portions of the Desert Southwest, temperatures will be warmer than last winter.
- Snowfall will be above normal near the Great Salt Lake and in the areas from El Paso to Detroit to Virginia Beach.
- Snowfall will be below normal in most other locations that have snow.
No help at all. Ouch. But the gang on our side at Powderchasers.com, say “NOAA’s outlook that “normal” snowfall should return to the Colorado Rockies in this medium El Niño year, a weather pattern that typically brings moisture to the western U.S., means a decent amount of snow is likely”. There is a God (or if you like ‘a non-gender specific supreme deity of your choice’). And from yet another source, “this seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.” Well, duh.
So for me, a normal snow year would be just fine and cryptic as it all seems, my money is on the scientists. But mostly, I will be watching cloud patterns from the soaks, or poking my head out the door of the lodge at Hot Springs Ranch, or out the flap of the tent high in the Toiyabe Range, to check the weather and overnight accumulation. That is the best way and no shaman required, so expect my call to action. I will already be on site and when you are in, you are in. I am. Are you?