Last year, El Niño brought unseasonably warm temperatures to the region, giving area ski resorts few opportunities to make snow. Things are decidedly better this year, but Mother Nature is planning an assault on the base depth of area ski resorts over the next few days. You can thank La Niña.
Over the next several days, temperatures in the Baltimore region will begin to rise, possibly hitting the mid-60’s by Wednesday. Nighttime temperatures will stay well above freezing, eliminating snowmaking opportunities for most of the local resorts. This warming trend follows a weekend of drizzle that transformed snow conditions at area resorts to loose granular. Conditions will remain loose to wet granular throughout the week, particularly in the afternoon when temperatures peak.
Cold temperatures from late December through early January allowed ski resorts to open most of their terrain, but there have been relatively few snowmaking opportunities since mid-January for the resorts closest to D.C., and conditions have been less than stellar as a result. As usual, resorts farther west - such as Snowshoe in West Virginia - have fared better, thanks to a higher elevation and lower temperatures. In general, though, base depths at area resorts have fallen over the past few weeks, at a time when they traditionally rise.
Base depths will be severely challenged this week, and thin areas will begin to appear.
Unfortunately, the extended forecast doesn’t show a clear relief from the mild temperatures. Temperatures should fall towards the weekend, but there’s no sign of an arctic blast that would allow ski resorts to resume snowmaking operations en masse.
With luck, the cold will return for the rest of February. In the meantime, head to the slopes and enjoy some early spring skiing - and hope that winter makes an encore.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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