By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
The outlook for snow in Wyoming through the rest of November is not good, especially for the state’s ski areas preparing to open their lift lines for the season, according to a Wyoming meteorologist.
But that will change once December rolls around, according to Don Day, founder of Cheyenne’s DayWeather.
“While the ski areas are probably sweating bullets right now, I am bullish things will turn around in December,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “And it will happen in early December.”
One of the state’s ski areas, Grand Targhee in Alta, opened for the season Wednesday with a snow base of 30 inches and 69% of the resort open for skiing.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort planned to continue its long-standing tradition of opening for the season on Thanksgiving Day, although the terrain available for skiing would be limited, according to the ski area’s website.
“Mother Nature has been off to a slow start on the lower mountain, but with increased snowmaking capacity and a dedicated staff working around the clock, we are thrilled to open our lifts this Thursday,” Mary Kate Buckley, the area’s president, said.
Four of the state’s other ski areas — Snow King Resort in Jackson, Hogadon near Casper, Snowy Range near Centennial and Sleeping Giant near Cody — planned to open between Dec. 3 and Dec. 11, according to the website Ski Central.
Day said by the time the areas open in December, decent snow should start falling in the state’s mountains.
“About the first weekend in December, it will get much colder and the mountain snows will kick in,” he said.
Day attributed the sudden switch in weather conditions to La Nina, a weather event that occurs when temperatures on the surface of the Pacific Ocean fall to levels that are lower than normal, affecting weather globally.
“It’s very typical in a La Nina to have alternating months that can go warm and dry and then the next month it can go the opposite,” he said.
The only ski area that has not announced an opening date is White Pine near Pinedale.