Season recap / next season:
It was a good season, with some bumps on the road. In the end, snowfall was below normal in much of BC as the storm track concentrated in California and the Rockies.
The usually reliable late fall snow didn’t show up for W/B last November and early December. W/B had one of the slowest openings in years. Natural snow was lacking, but I must say the vast and efficient snowmaking system was very helpful in early December. I was there, Dec 6-9th 2018. I skied top to bottom (5,000 verts) on almost all snowmaking – good job W/B.
I also skied at W/B in late April, with good coverage. I skied a run called Couloir Extreme, I hadn't skied that run in over two decades - I am older now. It's a steep double black at Blackcomb. A premier, classic run. In the old days, it was difficult to get to and gnarly to ski. The drop in is unnerving. Now it's easy to get to -- to the left off the top of seventh heaven chair - groomed to the lip. However, it's but still very steep and a long slide if you fall. Seems everybody is skiing it these days; little kids, grandma from Okanagan, even small dogs.
Seasonal snowfall in BC and the Pacific NW was generally near to below normal – just as the weak El Nino predicted for the NW. Another interesting part of the winter was the sustained cold and low snow levels in February, with a parade of storms coming from the north-northwest. That pattern not only created new snow but very high-quality snow day after day. However big powder days greater than 10" were few and far between. The snow was very cold and dry “continental “ in nature, not like our typical mild maritime snowfall.
It’s too early to tell what will happen next winter. Right now it looks like there might be a continuing very weak El Nino, which can produce an occasionally challenging snowfall pattern. Or it’s possible a neutral pattern, which is generally good for NW snowfall. I’ll know more early next fall (September /October).
Have a good summer
Larry Schick – meteorologist OpenSnow Whistler / Blackcomb, British Columbia
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