Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums banner

El Nino?

856 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Bertrand
Planning a family trip and have period Jan 7th-18th to go snowboarding somewhere in USA or Canada. Prefer Canada as the AUD is very low against the USD and will be in Vancouver on the 6th Jan 2024. Looking at Nelson BC but also mindful of El Nino. Just wanted to get any recommendations for a EL Nino year as it's a long way to travel for us if the snow isn't great. Understand things can change/differ but thought I'd ask for any feedback on best options.

In the USA what is the resorts that are generally better in an E Nino year?

Prefer to stay away from the mega resorts as well.

1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Even if they predict a El Nino doesnt always happen as planned. Generally El Nino pulls the jet stream down into the southwest. So here in Socal, more Sierra cement.

I have been to interior of BC, Nelson and other areas, on El Nino yrs, La Nina yrs and regular yrs and gotten great snow.

I will take 6 inches of fresh Canadian Cold Smoke over 6 feet of wet heavy Sierra cement. Even on El Nino yrs I head to BC.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Climate change seems to be making things less predictable. Note that BC can be very cold in January and the Rockies can be extremely cold.

That’s still early season, so don’t expect a huge base and a lot of fresh snow, but it should be decent. Here’s what the base at Big White is like:
Rectangle Product Azure Slope Plot

At Mt Baker and Revelstoke you’d almost be guaranteed some pow, but neither of them have accommodations on the hill if you’re looking for that whole experience. Revelstoke is a cool town… not as gentrified as Nelson has become. Bellingham is another cool town, but not that close to Baker.

Light Rectangle Plot Azure Slope
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I mentioned those two because…

Revy is in a temperate rain forest and gets the most snow on the powder highway. It’s in the Monashees so it’s not crazy cold, though it does have the most vertical in North America. You could visit other resorts as well…

Baker gets a lot of snow... like the world record for a season. It is heavier though.

Plus they’ve got the very liberal towns. The town of Nelson is really cool though… lots of whacky hippies.
Canada is very good, like insanely good as far as terrain goes. Probably the most bang for your buck in North America. As far as El Nino goes, that one can lead to a stinker for our friends up North but not always. Where I am in Southwest Colorado, La Nina usually screws this region. Last season it brought record snows. So you never know. El Nino does tend to book end the season. Seems like January, or February is an unusually dry month and then it cranks up again and finishes ridiculous.
Canada is very good, like insanely good as far as terrain goes. Probably the most bang for your buck in North America.
You said it man.
Yep 100% was looking at Whitewater.

Always hard to plan so far in advance as can't be as nimble with kids (school holidays etc).

But just gotta make the most of snow as they present.

Will be interesting to see how El NIno does effect. things that's for sure..
How old are the kids? Big White says it’s Canada’s favourite family resort and there are a lot of blues for intermediates. We get A LOT of Aussies too. But for early January I’d probably be looking for more snowfall.
Hey Mate. 13 and 11 but pretty decent snowboarders...
This blog post seems relevant. If you are concerned, do not stay close to the coast.

"Snowfall was found to be higher during La Niña and lower during El Niño events for most resorts above 42° North latitude. Further, the strength of correlations mostly decreased with distance from the coast. "

<shrug> In my view the differences between different BC places is bigger than any coherent differences between El-anything and El-anything-else. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention, but at least from my perspective I'd not sweat about any El-business any more than The Farmers' Almanac or any of that stuff. If you have the flexibility, then wait and see where it's best then go there. This year late December in Big White was... pretty much the same as the season before, from my perspective. There is generally a fair difference between different places, but there's plenty of choice in a drive from Vancouver.
Yeah climate change is a crap shoot, consider the historic snowfall and you should be alright.
The thing with stuff like El-Nino and other climate change effects is that we need to take a probabilistic view, but we live a single realization of all plausible outcomes.

If it says that there is a correlation between snow depth and ElNino phase, it does not mean you're gonna get the exact relationship between these two variables. You could get record snow accumulation, just like climate change does not mean you can't get record low temperature for a given year. It only means that, on average, you get more X or Y.... IF you consider a large enough time frame (typically 30 years).

So, yeah, don't sweat it and try to be flexible and adapt once you're there.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts