Archive for August, 2010

Powder Alert for 2010-2011 season- La Nina forecasted for Winter 2011

Friday, August 13th, 2010

This just in from our friend Larry Schick, the Grand Poobah of Pow over at It looks like we’ll be back in a La Nina pattern for this winter, which usually means epic and consistent dumpage for the Pacific Northwest, so start getting stoked for another awesome season in the North Cascades!

Our schedule is starting to fill, so if you have some dates in mind don’t wait to call (800-494-4354) or email the office to get on the books.

And from Larry:

The snow will be dumping in the Cascades this upcoming winter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is tracking equatorial sea surface temperatures, wind and pressure patterns. Last winter’s occasionally problematic El Nino is dead and gone. Current computer projections for the upcoming winter indicate a La Nina is developing. A La Nina pattern supports above normal snowfall for the Cascades. NOAA has issued a “La Nina Advisory” in effect for next winter, which means a La Nina is developing in the months to come.

Check ENSO El Nino/La Nina Advisory (click PDF English version or HTML or Word)

Updated every month.

La Nina is the best long term seasonal forecast indicator for fantastic snow in the Cascades. It’s not perfect and not a guarantee. But, in my experience, it’s the only good long range forecast for above normal snow in the Cascades which is reliable for the Pacific Northwest. All La Nina’s are a bit different, but their hallmark is an above normal Cascade snowpack. A strong La Nina is as close as you’ll get to a long range seasonal forecast guarantee of above normal snow in the Cascades. It means cool and wet for the lowlands.

This pattern doesn’t necessarily favor (or disfavor) an early start to the ski season. However, the Climate Prediction Center begins an above normal precipitation trend for the NW by October, but doesn’t kick in a complementary below normal temperature trend until December. By December, the above normal precipitation and below normal temperate pattern sticks with us through the entire winter – and that means quality snow dumpage in the Cascades!

I would hope for a typical start to the season, near Thanksgiving. An important pattern I tend to see with La Nina is; one or more very consistent snow patterns will set up and continue for weeks at a time. This is called a zonal or westerly flow, with multiple storms embedded in the flow. It’s a conveyor belt of sorts, to deliver the goods (epic pow) to the Cascades. The jet stream is aimed right at us, loaded with mountains of snow for almost nonstop snowfall pattern during these surges.

More to come in September and October…

Have a great summer and stay in shape.

Larry Schick

Grand Pubah of Powder