This is turning into the worst start to the ski season in a long time.
Many years we see a sudden turnaround with a bunch of snow sometime after mid-December. But this winter there is no sign of improvement on the horizon. That would be about 10 days out right now. In patterns like this (stable with a strong upper level ridge), we can look out farther with a bit more confidence than when the jet stream is flipping around all over the place. As a result, it’s unlikely ski areas that haven’t opened yet (Willamette Pass, Hoodoo, Skibowl, Cooper Spur, & Summit) will be able to open during the Christmas Break. I don’t remember the last time we’ve seen that happen.
Ski area operators depend on the two-week Christmas Break for a good chunk of their income each year; that’s because kids are out of school and many families take time to go stay up in the beautiful Cascades. The good news for YOU is that it’s still beautiful up there of course. If I had reservations for a mountain resort I sure wouldn’t change them! There is still snow up there, just not the quality and terrain you would normally see. And I see some discounted lift tickets too.
Here is our 7 Day outlook for Mt. Hood Ski Areas:
Not good eh? This weekend is a bit iffy because the snow level remains quite high. Normally I would think “rain-out”. But the precipitation looks quite light, and specifically Mt. Hood Meadows is on the SE-E side of the mountain. So sometimes in this westerly flow they can stay out of some of the precip. We’ll see. Hopefully nothing falls Sunday because it’ll be well above freezing up there. And we definitely don’t want a bunch of rain with such a thin base.
We get a cold front later Monday for some fresh stuff, but not much. Then it’s on to ridging through the end of the week. Models have a very weak system about 7 days from now (Friday/Saturday), then another round of ridging for a few days.
I’ll be on vacation for a couple days so no posts through early next week. I will probably post-Christmas evening when I work again. You won’t be missing anything since the weather looks real slow for about a week.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen