Winter is coming, and while we may not know exactly what it will look like, we can use some expert prognostication to get an idea of what this ski season has in store. We put together a 2017/2018 winter forecast using data from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, bringing you an analysis of the predicted temperatures and levels of precipitation in all regions of the U.S.
Take a look at the following winter weather predictions for 2017/2018 before you plan where to go for your ski getaway this year. Don’t go into ski season blindfolded; find out how much hit will snow this year and what the temperature will look like at your ski resort of choice.
West Coast Winter Weather Forecast
Prediction: Snowfall should be at normal levels or just slightly below normal levels. California has about an equal chance of getting the same amount of snowfall as usual, while the Pacific Northwest likely will see above average, with Oregon and Washington with about a 40% chance of receiving more than average snowfall. The snowfall in those areas looks to level out come February and March.
Most all of California has a roughly 40% chance to see higher temperatures than normal, while the temps in the Northwest states should stay in line with past winters.
What it means for skiers: If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, the winter’s outlook is shaping up nicely. The temperatures shoulder hover around the typical temps, but you’ll see an increased chance of snowfall for more powder days. California skiers can expect similar levels of snowfall but, with a slight increase in temperature, could experience some slushier conditions some days, especially earlier in the season, until the temps start to level out around March and April.
South West Winter Weather Forecast
Prediction: The South West region, including Utah, Colorado and Nevada will probably see a rise in warmth this winter, with a roughly 60% chance for warmer temperatures across the region. Things could get a little toastier come February/March, as most of Utah and parts of Colorado will most likely see temperatures rise.
The first few months of the season could bring some extra snow to Utah resorts, but the surrounding states won’t likely see anything more than average. Late in the season there’s a decent chance Utah and Colorado experience less precipitation, particularly in the bottom half of the states.
What it means for skiers: We are looking at a warm winter in this region. Warm temps could bring less than ideal conditions, but shouldn’t be too drastic of a deviation from what you’re used to. Snowfall will vary month to month, but overall it should rival most typical winters. If you want a little more powder riding, you might want to consider booking your trip earlier in the season, particularly December or January.
Great Plains Winter Weather Forecast
Prediction: Temperature-wise, the Great Plains area misses out on most of the warm front that will be hitting much of the country. December will see a roughly 30% chance of higher temperatures for the heartland states, such as Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho, but afterwards the rest of the winter looks typical. A little farther north in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, there shouldn’t be any notable shift in temperatures all season long.
Montana looks to receive the most snowfall of this region, with about a 50% chance of increased snowfall statewide from December until March. Idaho and Wyoming will also see some a higher chance of snowfall, specifically in the Northeast for Idaho and the Northwest for Wyoming. The rest of the region has an equal chance for more or less snow, so they should be looking at fairly conventional winter.
What it means for skiers: It should be cold as usual up in the Northern states, so pack some extra layers. The trio of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are looking like the best bets for extra snow, so if you’re chasing that pow that’s where you’ll want to head.
Great Lakes Winter Weather Forecast
Prediction: The states surrounding the Great Lakes will see approximately a 30% chance at warmer weather at the beginning of the season, but the following months will bring a return to average temperatures.
From January onward, the Great Lakes states are looking at 40-50% chance of higher than average snowfall. The strongest of it will concentrate around Lake Michigan, encompassing Michigan’s lower peninsula and the eastern halves of Illinois and Wisconsin.
What it means for skiers: Wait a month or two before embarking on your big ski trip this season. December could see higher temperatures and average snowfall, whereas January onward will have slightly lower temps and a good probability of exceeding average snowfall.
Northeast Winter Weather Forecast
Prediction: The Northeast is in store for a warmer winter as well. The first few months of the season will get the worst of it, but most of the Northeast, especially the states bordering the Atlantic, will have a good chance of higher temps all season long.
Expect snowfall similar to years past in this region. According to the CPC, there is no significant chance for elevated or reduced snow in the Northeast, except for the western half of New York and Pennsylvania during the core months of January and February, which has about a 30% chance of extra snowfall.
What it means for skiers: Prepare for the potential of some sloshy slopes due to the higher temps. Snowfall should at the very least be average, with the Farmer’s Almanac predicting increased snowfall despite what the CDC’s maps show. All in all, skiing conditions should be solid though.
Southeast Winter Weather Forecast
Prediction: The Southeast as a whole will likely experience higher temperatures across the board, including the areas where skiing is possible such as West Virginia. In those states, there is around a 30% chance to see warmer weather than what is usual.
Precipitation should be consistent with past seasons, with neither a significant probability of above average or below average snow levels.
What it means for skiers: The warmer weather will make it a little tougher to get good snow to stick, so keep an eye on the weather when planning out your skiing excursions.
As even the most experienced of meteorologists know, predicating a winter forecast months in an advance is always a dicey proposition. Use these baseline predications to help plan out your big ski trip for the year, but winter weather can vary day to day, so always make sure to check the forecast before heading out on the mountain.