What El Niño means for California skiers + riders

Jeff Hauff Uncategorized

El Nino is coming.

Here at Dodge Ridge, as we look forward to the rapidly approaching 2015/16 ski and snowboard season, we are struck by the consensus amongst meteorologists and long-range weather forecasters that a strong El Niño pattern will have a dramatic impact on California’s weather this winter.

Currently, many weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other institutions are comparing this year’s El Niño pattern to those experienced during the winters of 1997/98 and 1982/83 – both great ski/snowboard seasons in California and here at Dodge Ridge – leading savvy skiers and riders to invest in a season pass while they are still available at preseason rates.

What is El Niño?

El Niño is a weather pattern that begins with unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean. This warming of the Equatorial Pacific influences global weather patterns, typically bringing increased precipitation to California and the Southern United States – often dramatically increasing snowpack levels above and beyond average.

The first people to identify the El Niño pattern were South American fishermen, who noticed the unusually warm water in the Pacific and bestowed the name “El Niño” – meaning The Little Boy or Christ child in Spanish – upon the phenomenon, likely because it tended to arrive around Christmas.

What does El Niño mean for Dodge Ridge?

The El Niño currently building in the Pacific Ocean this year looks to be the strongest such pattern in a generation – strong enough to rival those experienced during the 1997/98 and 1982/83 winters. Looking back through the Dodge Ridge archives at those winters as reference points will bring a smile to the face of any skier or rider, as the resort was able to open for extended seasons with fantastic conditions due to an abundant snowpack both winters.

During the 1997/98 winter, Dodge Ridge received a total of 475 inches of snow at the base of the mountain and was open for skiing + riding from Dec.10 through April 19. And during the 1982/83 winter, the resort enjoyed an early Nov. 12 opening day due to early-season snow. On average, Dodge Ridge receives 350 inches of snow per season.

El Nino weather chart

Don’t just take our word for it

Take a look at what NOAA and other weather forecasters are saying about the upcoming El Niño-fueled winter season. And have a look at the precipitation maps below which illustrate what a strong El Niño can do to winter weather patterns in California.

OpenSnow.com calling for big winter in California

While there are many great weather forecasting institutions and websites available these days, the team at OpenSnow.com is one of the best at interpreting the weather prediction models with skiers + riders in mind.

So we’re excited to share a few highlights of their recent OpenSnow Winter Ski Forecast for 2015/16  as well as local forecaster Bryan Allegreto’s more localized forecast for the Northern California region this week (which is calling for potential snowfall in the mountains).

The BIG winter weather picture

According to the OpenSnow team, the confluence of a building El Niño pattern in the equatorial Pacific along with other ocean temperature readings around the world are pointing toward a high probability for above-average snowfall in California this winter.

Winter snow forecast

The OpenSnow.com Dodge Ridge winter forecast

And the outlook for Dodge Ridge in particular is even more promising, with forecasters calling for 102-136% of average snowfall over the course of the 2015/16 season.

Dodge Ridge snow forecast

The takeaway & to-do list

With weather forecasters lining up behind the idea that the 2015/16 El Niño-fueled ski season will be a good one, now is the time to invest in a Dodge Ridge unrestricted season pass. Passes are on sale at preseason rates through Saturday, Oct. 31, with Adult/Teen passes for just $259, Child passes for just $99 and Senior passes for just $159.

A Dodge Ridge season pass pays for itself in less than four visits, and comes with no blackout dates or restrictions.

Don’t wait until the last minute to buy: At these prices, we expect heavy call volumes during the final days of the sale, so we encourage you not to wait until the last minute to ensure you’re prepared for the 2015/16 ski season.

Buy today and let the snow dancing begin.