According to three-month forecast maps from NOAA, it looks like the areas in for above average precipitation to start the ski season will be the Southern Rockies and Alaska. So if you're not planning a trip to Girdwood or Haines, Taos and Southern Colorado might be the best bets for early season snow — if temperatures cooperate.
Three-month temperature forecast: November, December, January
The temperature forecast for Alaska is especially troubling, with the same areas predicted to have above average precipitation also slated to see warmer weather than normal. And, unfortunately, that above normal temperature trend in Alaska lasts through NOAA's multi-month forecasts for the season. New Mexico, on the other hand, looks like it could benefit from below average temperatures to go along with above normal precipitation.
November precipitation forecast
NOAA's November precipitation forecast reinforces the idea that the Southern Rockies are best positioned to benefit from El Niño at the beginning of winter. It doesn't look like the start to ski season will favor California, but that changes as we move through winter. The map below shows how the three-month forecasts shift to greater chances of above average precipitation for California as winter goes on. The temperature forecasts for those same periods, however, are not as encouraging, with the Pacific Coast set to see warmer than normal temperatures throughout winter.
Here's to hoping this monster El Niño finds a way to bring plenty of light powder to skiers and a legitimate snowpack to California. And don't forget that OpenSnow has a winter-long forecast that's more narrowly focused on ski areas.
Thirteen-month precipitation forecast
· There's a 90 Percent Chance We're Getting a Strong El Niño [Curbed Ski]
· When Ski Areas Are Opening for 2015-2016 Season [Curbed Ski]
· OpenSnow Released a Forecast for Every U.S. Ski Area [Curbed Ski]
· Photos: Who's Getting Snow This Week? [Curbed Ski]