For snow lovers, a lack of winter in parts of Newfoundland is turning into an icy disappointment
Mild spells have meant no opportunities for snow and ice to build up for certain winter activities
It might be La Nina or it just might just be bad luck, but so far 2018 hasn't brought much of a winter season to Newfoundland, which means disappointment for winter enthusiasts and businesses that depend on the cold-weather economy.
Despite a few bouts of snow and ice pellets, most of the ground is still visible across the island as periods of mild temperatures and rain have taken their toll on the snow pack which is usually several feet deep by this time of year.
Labrador has been getting significant snowfall this year and hasn't seen the same fluctuations in temperature as the island portion of the province.
According to Justin Boudreau, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, the problem could be that this is a La Nina year on the west coast of North America. The weather phenomenon has been known to create unusual conditions across the continent.
Boudreau said having an La Nina ridge over the west coast could create a "roller coaster" effect for the Atlantic coast, making storm tracks shift around from where they would usually land.
"It could just be dumb luck that we keep getting on the warm end of the storm track," he told the St. John's Morning Show Friday.
Some forecasts did predict a warmer February and a cooler March and April, so not all hope is lost for some winter conditions this year in Newfoundland, Boudreau said.
Disappointing for ice climbers
The lack of snow and cold temperatures may be great for people who hate shovelling, but for those who look forward to wintry weather, it's been a tough season.
That's definitely the case for Leo Van Ulden, an ice climber from St. John's who also owns indoor rock climbing facility Wallnuts.
In his 20 years of climbing in eastern Newfoundland, Van Ulden has never seen so little ice formed on the rocks in February.
"It's been slow. We usually get a pretty short season here, about two months where it's good," he said.
"Pretty much nothing has really formed up — it just keeps melting out."
'It's just wet rock'
Van Ulden did manage to get a few short climbs in on the Southside Hills in St. John's, but he said they weren't the best.
Meanwhile, his favourite spots, like Middle Cove Beach and Styles Cove, are just walls of rock with virtually no ice right now.
"You go to Styles Cove and it's just wet rock," he said. "There's nothing there at all."
Having first packed his ice climbing kit in December, it's likely Van Ulden won't get much use out of it this year as once March hits the season is over.
While it's not a big deal for him, he knows people who just invested in new equipment for this season, so the mild winter hurts especially hard for them.
Van Ulden said it's pretty clear that warm temperatures are to blame for the poor climbing season.
"Ice forms real well when we're cycling between one degree and minus five, with lots of snow pack," he said.
"Just seems like it's been getting warm enough this year that everything is full-on melting out. When the ice forms usually, it gets a few feet thick, but if it never gets that thick it doesn't get that much stability or cooler power to stay there."
With files from St. John's Morning Show