There is snow in the forecast, but is there enough?
The traditional start of the ski season at Cypress Mountain is fast approaching, and there is no snow on the ground.
It won’t take much to get the slopes open though. Cypress has increased its snow-making capacity this year, and summer brush clearing means the hill needs less coverage.
“We can be open in about 48 hours. It all happens really quickly,” said Joffrey Koeman, Cypress Mountain’s spokesperson.
There is snow in the interior, and Sun Peaks is slated to open this weekend.
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Global BC meteorologist Kristi Gordon said there’s no doubt the 2018 season will be different than 2017, when the Lower Mainland saw snow on Nov. 3. Last year was a La Niña year, while this year is trending towards a mild El Niño season.
“La Niñas, we tend to get snow here in the Lower Mainland, local mountains as well, whereas in an El Niño year it tends to be milder and dryer,” Gordon said.
“An El Niño year doesn’t mean we aren’t going to see any snow, it just means we’re going to see a milder and dryer season.”
Gordon said this winter’s weather could also be influenced by “the blob,” a patch of warmer water in the Pacific Ocean that could also help create a milder, drier season.
But after three solid years for the industry — both in terms of the amount of snow and number of visits — the Canada West Ski Area Association (CWSAA) is confident another good season in the cards.
“$100 million has been spent this past off-season in new lifts at B.C. resorts. All that money spent because the industry has seen solid growth,” said Christopher Nicholson president and CEO of CWSAA.
Ski visits and winter tourism contribute more than $2 billion a year to the B.C. economy and more than 19,000 jobs.
But all of it relies on snow, something which, at least in the Lower Mainland, is still hard to come by.