Grouse Mountain opens for ski season amid predicted milder winter

As of Wednesday afternoon, Grouse Mountain is officially open to skiers and snowboarders for the 2018/19 season.

Cypress Mountain opened Monday; Mount Seymour hoping to open in mid-December

Grouse Mountain Resort has invested heavily in snowmaking infrastructure. (Grouse Mountain Resort/Facebook)

Grouse Mountain is officially open to skiers and snowboarders for the 2018/19 season. 

Although nature hasn't supplied much snow for the local slopes, the recent cold temperatures have permitted Grouse's snowmaking team to make some on its own.

The resort opened to skiers on Wednesday afternoon. 

"Our snowmaking team has done a great job taking advantage of the recent cold temperatures," said Grouse Mountain representative Grant Wahl.

So far, Paradise Bowl and the Paradise Jib Park have opened for skiing and riding, but Wahl says they're working to open more terrain soon. 

El Niño producing milder winter

According to The Weather Network, there is an 80 per cent chance that an El Niño weather pattern will head into the Northern Hemisphere, causing a mild winter.

Meteorologist Tyler Hamilton says the current snowpack in B.C. isn't as large as this time last year, but it isn't time to panic just yet.

He says while an El Niño won't bring in as much snow as usual, the expected snowfall will not likely be substantially less than normal. 

El Niño is characterized by a warming in the Pacific Ocean with repercussions across the globe, including higher temperatures and greater precipitation in various regions. 

"Three of the recent strongest El Niño's are 1982 and 1997 and 2015, but those were strong events compared to our current one, which is forecast to be on the weaker side," wrote Hamilton on the network's website.

"Those particular years had less in the way for snowfall [20 per cent below typical average snowpack] and may be a fairly good proxy of what to expect for 2018-2019 season."

Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour 

Among the other North Shore ski resorts, Cypress Mountain opened its Easy Rider bunny hill on Monday, and plans to open the Eagle Express Quad Chair Thursday.

A spokesperson for Cypress Mountain said all of its current snow has been made with snowmaking machines, which have produced 30 football fields worth of snow. 

Mount Seymour, which says it has no snowmaking capabilities, has yet to open for the season due to a lack of snow, but traditionally opens in the middle of December. 

About the Author

Cory Correia

Reporter

Cory Correia is a reporter with CBC Vancouver. Send him an email at cory.correia@cbc.ca