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El Nino Looms; Don't Fret Too Much

By Taylor May
Published: 12/01/15 Topics: Comments: -

December 2015 brought us some great snow here in the Pacific North West. Just a few weeks ago there were amazing morning runs to be had at Stevens, Crystal, Snoqualmie, and others.

However, as much as we don't want to admit it, El Nino is on its way. What does that mean for us Northwest Skiers? Better than last year, but less snow than the average. Typically, El Nino hits the West Coast after New Years. This year looks to be no different, with Alaska experiencing warming temperatures, and California getting some much needed rain. The Northwest is right in the cross hairs for the rest of the winter.

El Nino is a complicated event relating to cyclical temperature changes in the southern Pacific Ocean and atmosphere. These cycles are made up of warm (El Nino) and cool (La Nina) phases, which phases lasting a few months, to a few years. 2016 is set to be a strong El Nino, which means the Polar Jet Stream and Pacific Jet Stream will split and create an area of low pressure off the West Coast, bringing rainstorms to California and parts of Alaska. Don't fret too much about the word “strong” though, as there isn't always a direct correlation between high temperatures and a strong or weak El Nino; sometimes weak El Nino's produce the hottest, driest winters.

A strong El Nino doesn't mean NO snow, but we should expect warmer than average temperatures for the rest of the winter. These conditions should persist from eastern Oregon all the way up to skiing grounds in British Colombia. Given our season last year, even a decrease from the average would still be an improvement!

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Author: Taylor May – Contributor, Northwest Skiers Magazine
Blog #: 0479 – 12/01/15
Sponsor: Northwest Skier – A magazine For skiers, snowboarders and everything snow started in 1964 now an online source of with news, comments, articles, photos and videos. If you slide, visit our Website and join the email list to get instant mountain info year round. –

Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk

By William May
Published: 01/23/15 Topics: Communications, Football, Sports Comments: 1

Why does Seahawks Football Team Quarterback Russell Wilson talk so much. Even have a well called play he can not shut up. Neither should you if you want to achieve the kind of success he has. Read more

Christmas Trees Endanger the World

By William May
Published: 12/31/14 Topics: Government, Holidays Comments: 1

The latest target of political extremists is the lowly Christmas Tree. They have pronounced that live- fresh versions are terribly dangerous when located in public places, like hotels, condo buildings, restaurants and even correction facilities (Double speak for jails) Read more

Crystal Mountain's Scenic Gondola Does Wow

By Emmalee David
Published: 09/01/14 Topics: Comments: -

Winter, we were worn out by March. Needing to shake it up a bit we hit the road in a southeasterly direction. Read more

A Map, a Map, My Kingdom for a Map

By William May
Published: 07/20/14 Topics: Comments: -

Folded like origami (Japanese paper art), maps have been an indispensible tool for travelers for centuries. But today with Global Positioning Statellites (GPS) and Smart Phones, travel can be much easier but it does require some common sense. Read more

Outdoors-For-All, the Heros Among Us

By William May
Published: 06/09/14 Topics: Comments: -

Donate your home to charities for their use and fundraising and post your generosity on See how the Ski-For-All Foundation gave property owners the great satisfaction of helping disabled kids and adults to ski. Read more

Crowing About Our New Mobile Website

By William May
Published: 05/01/14 Topics: Comments: -

It may not sound earth-shaking but Redstone Systems, creator of the software has just added their evolutionary new mobile websites to our system. Check it on your mobile phone now. Read more

Sad Story for Non Renting Vacation Home Owner

By William May
Published: 12/06/13 Topics: Comments: -

Home Owner Association caretaker has bad news for vacation home owner who should have kept his home in rental, with which he could have retained the attentive eyes of a full time manager almost next door. Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 33, No. 3 - Mt Rainier ski mountaineering

Published: 11/01/90 Topics: Comments: -

Ski mountaineering is a sport "limited to a somewhat hardcore group of enthusiasts" which seems nevertheless to be growing. The article includes comments by Brian Sullivan and Doug Ingersoll, ski instructors and guides; Jim Heber of the Mountaineers; Paul Walchenbach of REI, Inc.; and Carl Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 31, No. 3 - Walt Little

Published: 02/01/90 Topics: Comments: -

In 1953, Walt Little, a civil engineer, skier and mountaineer, was hired by the John Graham Company, a Seattle architectural firm, to do a feasibility study for a new Washington ski area. Twice a month for two years, Little led a group of surveyors into three potential sites east of Mt Rainier, two sites in Silver Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 25, No. 3 - Hogback Mountain released from Goat Rocks Wilderness

Published: 02/01/85 Topics: Comments: -

Terrain adjacent to Hogback Mountain near White Pass was released from the Goat Rocks Wilderness in the summer of 1984. "I am really looking forward Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 24, No. 1 - Ski mountaineering gear

Published: 09/01/81 Topics: Comments: -

Highlights: Alpine touring gear is heavier, more durable and better for steep terrain. Nordic touring gear is lighter, more comfortable and better for walking and long tours with variable terrain. Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 23, No. 19 - Morse Creek, Eagleslair proposal

Published: 07/01/81 Topics: Comments: -

This full-page advertisement was paid for by the "We Favor Multiple-Use of the National Forest" committee, Ed Nowak chairman. It argues against including Morse Creek in the proposed Cougar Lakes wilderness area. Most of the text was written by Ward Meeks. The following three pages Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 23, No. 1 - Flattop ski area

Published: 07/01/81 Topics: Comments: -

In the mid-1960s, Patrick Parrish and his wife bought land at the bottom of Flattop Mountain, which is on state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land near Trout Lake, south of Mt Adams. They built a rope tow and ran it for a few years, then convinced DNR that it would be better to use the whole mountain as a ski Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 22, No. 15 - Telemark clinics

Published: 03/17/80 Topics: Comments: -

An ad for Nordic Mountain Ski School offers three days of instruction with instructors Steve Barnett, Van Brinkerhoff and John Fuller on May 24-26 at Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 21, No. 10 - Mt Pilchuck dilemma

Published: 01/05/79 Topics: Comments: -

When operators of the Mt Pilchuck ski area applied for an extension of their lease, the Forest Service rejected their expansion plans. Ski area spokesman Gary Barrett said that in order to be economically viable, the area needs to expand. "If our ten-year operating plans allow for expansion, then we won't get a lease renewal. On the other hand, if we can't expand, we can't operate. It's a double bind." The area did not operate in 1977-78 and does not expect to operate in 1978-79, due to uncertainty about its lease. Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 20, No. 10 - Alpine touring, ski mountaineering, and nordic downhill

Published: 01/09/78 Topics: Comments: -

This article introduces alpine touring, ski mountaineering and nordic downhill skiing as ways to venture beyond nordic ski trails into high mountains and deep wilderness. Climbing skins and Silvretta touring bindings are mentioned and the author notes that Steve Barnett, whose book Nordic Downhill is forthcoming Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 19, No. 18 - Aspen drops Early Winters plans

Published: 06/01/77 Topics: Comments: -

Aspen Skiing Corporation decided to defer further action on developing a major resort at Early Winters and closed its office in Winthrop. The company cited administrative delays, legal costs and uncertainty due to proposed additional regulations. The company continues to hold options for the purchase of land in the area. Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 19, No. 15 - Kehrs sell Stevens Pass, retire

Published: 03/21/77 Topics: Comments: -

Bruce Kehr and his friend Don Adams skied at Mt Rainier before there were rope tows. When they heard about a tow in the eastern U.S. made from an endless rope, they fashioned one of their own without having seen one. Adams cleared the way with the Forest Service and Kehr came up with the tow and they went into business at Stevens Pass in 1937. They charged a dollar for all-day use or eight rides for a quarter. Total gross sales for their first season were about $80, which did not compare well against Read more

NW Skier, Vol. 19, No. 13 - Daily snow ranger reports by phone

Published: 02/21/77 Topics: Comments: -

"A taped phone report of snow and avalanche conditions outside developed ski areas at Snoqualmie Pass is being offered in Seattle again this winter for ski touring Read more

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DETAILS: We work to keep this information up to date, but details do change from time to time based on circumstances, often on short notice, and sometimes beyond our control. To verify any answer or other information you may need, please call or email us anytime. Allow a reasonable amount of time for response. Only legitimate inquiries will be answered.