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17/18 Ski Season Long-Range Weather Forecast- ©Meteorologist Chris Tomer

Copyright: Meteorologist Chris Tomer

My forecast is driven by ENSO Neutral conditions in the South Pacific between now and early December 2017, and my belief is that it will shift toward a minor La Niña (La Niña Lite) between mid December and March 2018.   

What is ENSO?

ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) describes how the South Pacific Ocean and atmosphere are interacting. They operate a feedback loop and the impact is global. Given that, the winter outlook is shaping up as follows:   

• Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho: Normal to above normal snowfall this winter at the ski areas. 

• Pacific Northwest: Normal snowfall at the ski areas.

• Whistler/Blackcomb & Banff: Normal to above normal snowfall.

• California: Normal to slightly below normal snowfall at the ski areas.

• Northeast: Normal snowfall at the ski areas.

  - © Meteorologist Chris Tomer

Copyright: Meteorologist Chris Tomer

Percentage of Normal Snowfall at Resorts


Steamboat: 115%

Vail: 100%

Loveland: 115%

Aspen/Snowmass: 100%

Wolf Creek: 100%


Snowbasin: 110%

Alta & Snowbird: 100%


Jackson Hole: 115%


Big Sky: 115%


Schweitzer: 115%

Sun Valley: 115%

British Columbia

Whistler/Blackcomb: 100%


Tahoe: 90%

Mammoth: 85%


Killington: 100%

Tomer's Take

Keep in mind this is an early-season, broad-brush forecast. It's important to watch ocean temperatures in September and make adjustments. This forecast might be helpful if you're booking a Christmas or winter ski trip. The Intermountain West is trending in a wet direction, but the wildcard for early season ski trips will hinge on temperature trends. Early season temps can be too warm for some resorts.

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