Greetings from the mighty Wasatch Range of Utah, Logue-heads! I’d been hearing great things about the snow in the middle Rockies, but after making the drive over the Continental Divide at Independence Pass and checking out Aspen, I’m sad to report it looks like the area needs another good storm before it’s time to hit the slopes. The simple fact that I was able to drive over 12,000 foot Independence Pass in my Toyota Camry alone is a sure sign that ski season isn’t quite here yet.Â It is true, of course that Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, a bit to the East, did open last weekend. We’ll be heading over there to check it out tomorrow.
In the meantime, we’re here in Park City, where it is absolutely beautiful, but may of the slopes are still showing brown, yellow and green. During last year’s La Nina, all of the southern resorts starved through the driest winter on record, while everyone north of Crested Butte was swimming in snow. Word is that things could be reversed this year, as we enter an El Nino phase.
Ski Blog helps us to understand what all this means for your chances of getting some powder this winter.
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El Nino strongly favors only Southern California, Arizona and far southern Utah, with milder effects extending to the southern Sierra and New Mexico. It may surprise people how small the correlations are at Tahoe and in southern Colorado. Everyone remembers the record Sierra snow during the record El Nino of 1982-83. But the 3rd and 4th strongest El Ninos (1992 and 1987) were severe drought years at Tahoe, and there are several good La Nina seasons, probably assisted by colder temperatures minimizing low elevation rain. The most southwestern locations in Colorado (Purgatory, Telluride and Red Mt. Pass) have even smaller correlations than North Tahoe.