Canada winter forecast is for best ski conditions in years

Heavy snow will quickly pile up in the mountains, which should get the western ski season off to a good start

Map shows the highlights of the winter forecast for Canada. Southern British Columbia is expected to have a stormy start to winter.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center

AccuWeather reports that stormy weather is in the forecast for British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies this winter.

A stormy pattern typical of winter will set up over British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies, delivering rounds of rain and mountain snow across the region.

“Heavy snow will quickly pile up in the mountains, which should get the western ski season off to a good start,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

This will allow ski resorts in British Columbia and Alberta to establish a solid base early in the season that will last through the spring.

While winter may start off wet and snowy across the region, a change in the weather pattern will cause the frequency of storms to decrease heading into February and March.

This flip in the weather pattern will also bring the potential for some brief shots of arctic air to the Lower Mainland.

Meanwhile, the overall weather pattern this winter will favor warmer-than-normal conditions across far northern Canada, including Nunavut, the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories.

Frequent snowstorms to slam eastern Canada

This winter is expected to play out much differently across eastern Canada than it did last year, when mild conditions and below-normal snowfall dominated.

“The upcoming winter will likely be a stormy one across eastern and Atlantic Canada, especially during tempsJanuary and February,” Anderson said.

“This pattern will lead to a higher probability of significant snowfall events from eastern Ontario through Quebec and into New Brunswick and Newfoundland.”

Areas closer to the relatively warmer ocean water will receive more than just snow.

“Areas such as Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will see constant battles between snow, ice and rain,” Anderson said.

Arctic intrusions to freeze the Prairies

The Canadian Prairies have already had a taste of winter with both chilly air and accumulating snow, but the worst of the season will hold off until the arrival of 2017.

The start of the season will feature occasional intrusions of chilly air, but the overall pattern will favor windier and milder conditions in cities such as Calgary and Edmonton.

“A pattern change by midwinter will likely send waves of very cold Arctic air directed into the southern Prairies for January and February,” Anderson said.

The onset of each wave of arctic air may bring some periods of snow, especially in southwestern Alberta, but this will be followed up by drier conditions once the frigid air takes hold.

“Despite the arctic fronts, a persistent northwesterly flow of air during the second half of winter will suppress moisture far to the south, leading to below-normal snowfall over the eastern Prairies,” he said.

Inset graphic: Winter Snowfall map shows above normal snowfall for the southern Interior and Rocky Mountains.