Snow woes — local mountains in need of white stuff

Kamloops-area ski hills were hoping Santa will have a little snow in the bag when he comes through the Tournament Capital this week

Adam Williams – Kamloops This Week

Kamloops-area ski hills were hoping Santa will have a little snow in the bag when he comes through the Tournament Capital this week.

Because, according to Environment Canada, Mother Nature isn’t bringing much any time soon.

“There may be a little bit, but I wouldn’t say there will be a major increase,” Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist told KTW.

Lundquist said a strong ridge of high pressure over much of B.C. has caused warmer than average temperatures throughout much of the province.

Another ridge was likely on its way before Christmas.

“It might warm up enough with that next one, too, that we might see some rain at the bottom of the hill late weekend, early next week,” Lundquist said.

“Once that’s by, I think our hopes can be raised a bit more.”

The long-term forecast may also be impacted by the emergence of El Niño conditions in the coming weeks, Lundquist said.

El Niño, which occurs when the water off the coast of South America remains at least 0.5 C warmer than average for a three-month period, tends to bring warmer weather to Western Canada.

It can also create what Lundquist called a “split flow,” which forces storms south to California and north to the Yukon, meaning precipitation would bypass B.C.’s Interior.

It would be bad news for local ski areas, as recent warm weather has left many of them snow starved.

Sun Peaks Resort and Stake Lake Nordic Centre are open and operating, though not under optimal conditions.

Harper Mountain has yet to open its ski area, though its tube park was to open on Friday, Dec. 19.

General manager Norm Daburger said the hill needs at least one more snowfall before it can open its slopes to the alpine crowd.

At Sun Peaks, a downturn in use by the local market has been offset by destination skiers.

The resort had accumulated a 69-centimetre base at its mid-mountain recording station as of Wednesday, Dec. 17.

 

Last season, Sun Peaks had a 55-centimetre base on Nov. 30 and a 79.5-centimetre base on Dec. 31.