Photo by Garth GuibordLa Niņa pattern offers hope for a snowy winter posted on 11/01/2021
Mount Hood ski resorts are readying for the winter season as
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast calls for a
cooler, wetter winter in the Pacific Northwest and across the northern part of
This winter’s NOAA forecast holds promise for a good snow
season on Mount Hood and is largely predicated to the occurrence of the ocean-atmospheric
climate phenomenon known as La Niña.
“(La Niña) is the main driver for a forecast of
above-average precipitation in the region this winter,” said Andy Bryant,
National Weather Service Hydrologist. “Big picture; it’s a good outlook for
snowpack in the North Oregon Cascades.”
The La Niña weather pattern periodically occurs when lower
than average sea temperatures in the Eastern Tropical Pacific shifts the jet
stream to the north. This shifting of the atmospheric river of winds over the
Pacific commonly brings more storms to the northern part of the North American
“During this phenomenon, the storm track is aimed at
Washington and Northwest Oregon,” Bryant said.
This winter, the NOAA expects moderate La Niña conditions to
result in slightly below-average temperatures in the region and slightly
above-average precipitation. Current data shows strengthening La Niña
conditions in the Pacific.
Area ski resorts are preparing for a busy season,
potentially aided by favorable snow conditions. “La Niña typically bodes very
well for snow conditions at Timberline and other ski areas on Mount Hood,” said
John Burton, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Timberline Lodge.
“Last year there was a lot of demand for outdoor experiences and also a lot of
challenges. We’re looking forward to things being back to somewhat normal.”
This season, Timberline’s Summit Pass, formerly known as
Summit Ski Area, is officially part of the Timberline ski area. The addition
increases the resort’s vertical terrain to 4540 feet, the longest in the United
Mt. Hood Skibowl has worked to streamline guest experience
this winter with tickets available for purchase online in January, additional
kiosks for lift ticket redemption and a new Skibowl food truck offering
grab-and-go seasonal menu items and beverages. The resort is also beginning a
multi-year project replacing their metal halide lights with LED replacements.
The retrofit will reduce energy consumption by 50 percent and provide an
improved visual night experience for guests.
“La Niña years have always been very generous to Skibowl,
and we are looking forward to more of the same this season,” said Mt. Hood
Skibowl representative Karen Norton.
Above-average precipitation and mountain snowfall this
winter should also help alleviate some of the severe to exceptional drought
conditions covering most of Oregon.
“It will take 120 to 130 percent of average precipitation
for western Oregon to get out of drought conditions,” Bryant said. “It is
really unlikely that central and eastern Oregon will see the 150 to 175 percent
of average precipitation needed to end ongoing drought conditions.”
“We’re hopeful for some good snow in the Western Cascades,”
By Ben Simpson/MT