B.C. ski season defies El Niño, Whistler reaches 1,000 cm
Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 6:15 AM - In a winter season that has seen many ski enthusiasts searching high and low for snow, Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort broke the 1,000 cm barrier on Sunday.
"Many El Niños in the past suggested this year would bring slightly below normal snowpack to B.C.’s South Coast, but this robust El Niño continues to defy the trend as we begin early March," says Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
An average season at Whistler sees 1,163 cm of snow, with just over 670 cm reported last year.
"Early season snowfall was above normal looking back at November and December for the Alpine–persistent troughing combined with modified arctic air to create early openings for some of the resorts," Hamilton says. "A lack of very mild pineapple express systems allowed snow levels to fall into a comfortable 1,000-1,400 metres for much of the winter season benefiting much of the local ski hills."
Although amounts will vary through the coastal mountains, 30-60 cm of fresh snow is expected before "what is anticipated to be a fantastic spring skiing season for portions of the Pacific Northwest," Hamilton adds.
Periods of unsettled and wet weather will continue to impact B.C. through March, but as highlighted in the 2016 Spring Forecast, there will be some breaks as the storm track will shift south into California at times, where the rain and snow are especially needed.
"By April, some parts of the South Coast mountain range may approach over two times the cumulative snowpack when compared to 2014-2015," Hamilton says.