Check out Chris Tomer's updated forecast for the 16/17 ski season, published 9.13.16.
Overview: El Niño is transitioning to La Niña. In other words, the water in the South Pacific near the Equator is cooling off. Why does this matter? It matters because it will change the average position of the jet stream this winter. The jet stream guides storm systems around the globe ultimately determining where the heaviest snow falls in any given winter season.
Outlook: A low grade La Niña (aka La Niña Lite) will be the dominate player by late fall and continue through the winter season. What does that mean? It means the storm track will favor certain areas for heavier than average snowfall. Those areas may be different than last winter. I believe we'll see the heaviest snow in the Pacific Northwest, northern Intermountain West, Great Lakes and possibly parts of the Northeast.
Biggest Winners: La Niña tilts the odds in favor of above average snowfall for Mount Baker, Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Mount Bachelor, Whistler, Lake Louise, Schweitzer, Sun Valley, Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Discovery, Whitefish, Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, Steamboat, Buffalo Pass, Squaw Valley, Northstar and Heavenly.
Mildly Favored: Aspen, Snowmass, Copper, Vail, Loveland, Alta, Snowbird, Snowbasin, Park City, Jay Peak, Smuggers' Notch, Stowe, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf and Killington.
My Forecast - Percentage of Average Snowfall this Winter:
• Mount Hood, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier: 130%
• Schweitzer, Sun Valley: 125%
• Whistler, Lake Louise: 115-125%
• Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee: 120%
• Big Sky, Whitefish, Bridger Bowl: 115%
• Steamboat, Buffalo Pass: 115%
• Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly: 105-110%
• Aspen, Copper, Vail, Loveland: 100-110%
• Alta, Snowbird, Park City: 100-110%
• Jay Peak, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Killington: 100%
Tomer's Take: The above forecast percentages are a broad-brush look at the winter as a whole rather than any specific month alone. It is a forecast. I'll be closely watching the south Pacific trade winds and water temperatures in the next two months. If you're planning an early winter ski trip it will be important to know those two details. For example, will we have good snow coverage by Thanksgiving? How about by Christmas? Those answers will become more apparent in the next two months.