Snow forecast 2022-23: El Niño, La Niña or something else entirely?

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What to expect for snow this season in Alberta and BC so you can score the best skiing and snowboarding days of the year.

After a big snow year in Western Canada in 2021-22, we’re left with one really big question. Will we get more snow in 2022-23 than in 2021-22? And one even bigger question: where, and how much?

For skiers and snowboarders, this is the stuff of dreams. With the help of the Farmers’ Almanac and some careful analysis, we’re presenting this snowfall outlook to help you time those ski vacations to hit the best potential snow conditions and start plotting powder weekend escapes to your favourite Alberta and BC ski destinations. 

Powder King BC Marty Clemens
Photo: Marty Clemens
Winter 2022-23 brought some deep, deep days to places like BC's Powder King.

Weather is weather, so a long range forecast can only tell so much. We’ll be eagerly watching the snow reports, triangulating data from multiple plot points and keeping you up to date on our snow conditions page.

But for those of you who like to plan ahead, daydream about the season to come and give yourself the best shot at pow pow for days ‘n’ days, let’s dig in.

Key factors for winter forecast 2022-23

There are a lot of factors that go into a big snow year. Above all, weather variables: wind, cloud cover, temperature, geography, upper atmospheric pressure, the polar vortex, the pacific gulfstream.

But one of the key factors we all know by now is what phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) we are in: El Niño, or La Niña. (What is El Niño/La Niña? Here’s a really cool explanation, complete with graphics.)

Coming into winter 2022-23, we are coming off an extended tour for La Niña. Some weather researchers have predicted we will see an almost unprecedented “triple dip” - three straight La Niña winters in the northern hemisphere. It’s only happened twice since 1950! 

Last year's big snowfalls meant pow days into spring - like this April shot at Marmot Basin.

Some point to this as a strong indicator of climate change. And friends, SnowSeekers would be in this camp. (Need more convincing? Links at bottom, friends.)

This means havoc for certain parts of the globe, regrettably. But it brought some amazing snow to the mountains in 2021-22. Most forecasters are predicting La Niña to continue into winter 2022-23, coming in at an approximate 70% chance through September to November, but weakening to 55% December to February.

So what will we get in the mountains? Here’s what we know.

Western Canada long range snow forecast 2022-23

La Niña is likely to continue to bring colder and snowier weather to Western Canada, but may not be as strong as last season. This fits with what the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting. Alberta and BC fall under the same weather band in the Farmers’ Almanac Canada winter 2022-23 long range forecast map, and the headline is: “Cold, wet weather ahead for Alberta & BC”

The Farmers' Almanac's winter 2022-23 forecast map indicates "cold, wet" winter for Alberta and BC.

If we’re to listen to the Almanac, some very chilly weather is ahead this winter, across Western Canada. But as we skiers and snowboarders know, those really cold days are the exception and not the rule. There will still be plenty of great shredding ahead. 

Alberta snowfall forecast 2022-23

The good news: depending on geography, “wet” can mean different things. In Alberta, the advantage of our lip-cracking, skin-chapping climate is that especially in the more northern parts and higher elevations, it likely means that abundance of “wet” precipitation will come down in the form of snow.

The “bad” news? The cold part means what it always means in Alberta: bundle up. If anything, a little moreso than usual. The forecast suggests average winter temperatures will be 7C below normal, and include some -40 C days this season. 

Alberta and the prairies (zone 4) 

The following is summarized from the Farmers’ almanac 60-day forecast. 

November 2022
25mm forecast precipitation (10mm above average) 
- 5C average temp (2C below average)

December 2022
50mm forecast precipitation (10mm above avg)
- 13C avg temp (4C below avg)


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BC snowfall forecast 2022-23

For BC, cold and wet may mean a little less cold, and a little more wet. As in, some of that precip will come down as sleet or freezing rain early in the season. Be sure to get those snow tires early and drive to the conditions when you’re heading to the hill.

British Columbia (zone 5)

Summarized from the Farmers’ almanac 60-day forecast.

November 2022
190mm forecast precipitation (40mm above average)
4C average temp (1C below average)

December 2022
155mm forecast precipitation 
- 2C avg temp

United States 

Down south, expect milder temperatures and a slightly below average snow year for the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions (covering Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming ski areas), with the coldest periods in mid-November and late December. In the Pacific Southwest, California, which is known for its big winters, is expecting a lower than average snow year as well. 

Pacific Northwest (Zone 15)

Summarized from the Farmers' Almanac 60-day forecast.

November
177mm forecast precipitation (25.4mm above avg)
9C average temp (avg)

Intermountain (Zone 13)

Summarized from the Farmers' Almanac 60-day forecast.

November
25.4mm forecast precipitation (average)
6C average temp (1.2C below avg)

Pacific Southwest (Zone 16)

Summarized from the Farmers' Almanac 60-day forecast.

November
5mm forecast precipitation (20mm below avg)
17C average temperature (2C above avg)

Ontario, Quebec & Atlantic Canada 

Big headline for the eastern provinces is early snow, and several major storms through the season, which as we’ve seen from past years can sometimes be epic to the point of extreme weather. 

Ontario (zone 3)

The following is summarized from the Farmers’ almanac 60-day forecast. 

November 2022
100mm forecast precipitation (25mm above avg)
2C (avg)

Quebec (zone 2)

The following is summarized from the Farmers’ almanac 60-day forecast. 

November 2022
105mm forecast precipitation (20mm above avg)
2C (1C above avg)

Atlantic Canada (zone 1)

The following is summarized from the Farmers’ almanac 60-day forecast. 

November 2022
125mm forecast precipitation (15mm below avg)
5C (2C above avg)

Want more snow knowledge? Keep watching this page! As the 60-day forecasts are updated on the Farmers’ Almanac, we’ll continue to update them here. 

For the best, most up-to-date snow conditions for all the major ski resorts across Alberta and BC, including weather updates, check out our Snow Conditions report

One way or another, winter is coming: all hail Ullr! Let’s get ready to shred.

Cool weather trivia and #DYK

Did you know…

  • The Farmers’ Almanac is 80% accurate over 230+ years of annual weather forecasting (amazing right?)
  • The “triple dip” La Niña effect is making its first appearance this century. Read how it has been impacting global weather patterns.
  • It’s time to start the snow dances, but are you praying to the wrong snow god

Want to know more about climate change? 
Protect Our Winters Canada has some great info on climate change and the science of climate. Consider becoming a member and supporting their mission, to slow the effects of climate and protect winter for all. 

SnowSeekers VS SnowSeekers
Want to see how accurate our last season forecast was? Or just a reminder of what the season brought? Check it out here.

To keep up on all things snow and winter fun, sign up to our SnowSeekers enews.

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