High pressure will build in over the upcoming weekend (April 20th& 21). That weather pattern will mean partly to mostly sunny skies and fabulous spring skiing for the Pacific NW. Many ski areas will close after this weekend. Check websites for details. Late season skiing, after this weekend, can be found at Mt Hood Meadows, Timberline, Whistler and Mt Bachelor. I have skied all of these areas in late April and May and they are all good.
Season recap / next year.
The usually reliable early season snowfall in the NW didn’t show up last fall in late November and early December. NW ski areas had one of the slowest openings in years. Natural snow was lacking. Crystal and Whistler were helped early in December by good snowmaking. Most other areas were snow challenged, with the storm track not delivering the goods. I must say, I skied W/B, Dec 6-9th 2018 and the snowmaking was excellent. I skied top to bottom (5,000 verts) on almost all snowmaking – good job W/B.
Seasonal snowfall in the Pacific NW this past season was generally near to below normal. That is just what the weak El Nino predicted for the NW. Another interesting part of the winter was the sustained cold, with low snow levels in February, caused by a parade of storms coming from the north-northwest. That pattern not only created new snow but very high-quality snow day after day. The snow was very cold and dry “continental “ in nature, not like our typical mild maritime snowfall. That was a wonderful stretch of snowfall and fantastic skiing.
It’s too early to tell what will happen next winter. Right now it looks like there might be a continuing weak El Nino. El Nino’s can produce an occasionally difficult snowfall pattern for the NW. However, it’s possible a neutral pattern may develop, which is generally good for NW snowfall. I’ll know more early next fall in September or October.
Have a good summer
Larry Schick - meteorologist OpenSnow NW
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