The Bottom Line: El Niño is starting to cool-off. The warmest waters in the south Pacific peaked around Christmas and are now starting to cool. The latest forecast consensus continues this trend into spring and summer. Specifically, El Niño turns neutral by spring and possibly into a bonafide La Niña by summer.
Impact on Skiing: As El Niño weakens, the entire weather pattern will also shift. Keep in mind it will happen gradually. For example, places that experienced heavier than normal snowfall earlier this winter will now gradually shift back to normal snowfall. And, places that were once colder than normal may now turn gradually warmer.
Colorado: Southern Colorado snowfall accumulation returns to normal (down from above normal). The central mountains continue with normal snowfall while the northern mountains will trend toward above normal snowfall. Temperatures across the board may trend warmer than normal. Keep in mind, normal is still very good. For instance, March normally delivers about 50 inches of snow to Vail Mountain, which "normally" accumulates snow until April 10, when the big melt begins. We have roughly 25 percent of the total snowpack left to accumulate. In other words, 75 percent of the season's snow is behind us with another quarter left to fall.
Colorado Snowfall Specifics:
• Wolf Creek = Normal snowfall
• Snowmass = Normal snowfall
• Vail = Normal snowfall
• Loveland = Normal snowfall
• Steamboat = Above normal snowfall
Utah: Southern Utah snowfall accumulation returns to normal (down from above normal). Northern Utah, including the Wasatch, may trend toward slightly above normal snowfall.
Utah Snowfall Specifics:
• Snowbasin = Above normal snowfall
• Park City = Normal to slightly above normal snowfall
• Snowbird = Normal to slightly above normal snowfall
• Brian Head = Normal snowfall
California: Northern California becomes favored for above normal snowfall. Southern California continues to trend drier and warmer. This shifting pattern should favor Tahoe.
Northeast: A gradual change toward more frequent cold air blasts and frequent Alberta Clippers with light to moderate snows.