It was only three years ago this week when we were already skiing.
On Oct. 19, 2018, both Killington and Sunday River wound up running their lifts to kick off the skiing and riding season in New England. In 2021, we’re still in a holding pattern.
Killington has started to fire up the snow guns in Vermont, but the resort has yet to announce an opening date. It surely hasn’t helped to be receiving summer-like temperatures in some parts of New England, even on the doorstep to November.
It’s not a slow start so much as it seems an extension of patience. Based on the weather, it’s been hard to ultimately make a consistent switch from shorts and sandals into boots and layers.
Still though, you can’t blame skiers and riders for worrying about when it’s finally going to cool off into temperatures better suited for winter. The longer it goes, the more we start to wonder; does it mean we’re on the doorstep to another warm winter?
On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its U.S. winter outlook and predicted above-average temperatures across most of the eastern U.S. as La Nina climate conditions have emerged for the second winter in a row. This, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service.
NOAA’s temperature outlook for the Northeast predicts a 40-50 percent chance of above-normal temperatures for the meteorological winter (December, January, February). The region has an equal chance of precipitation, except for portions of northwest Vermont, which are labeled 30-40 percent above normal. Jackpot for Stowe, Sugarbush, Bolton Valley, Mad River Glen, Jay Peak, and Smugglers’ Notch.
“Consistent with typical La Nina conditions during winter months, we anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S. while much of the South experiences above-normal temperatures,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
Of course, long-range weather predictions are something of a crapshoot, so take the information with some hesitancy. Odds are it will be cold, with a warming period in January. We’ll get snow some days. We won’t get snow some days. Insert shrug emoji.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. The next update will be available Nov. 19.
Barring this warming trend lasting that long, we should be skiing somewhere by then.