Last winter started late but saw fantastic snowfalls and a solid snowbase for most of the season. As we move into autumn all us skiers, boarders and snow lovers are wondering what 2015 might look like. One of the best sources is The Grasshopper, who writes for Mountainwatch.

Grasshopper has written up their forecast for the 2015 season, and the take home message is that:

We’re heading for an El Nino and it’s got a good chance of being a strong one.

A winter dominated by a ‘classic’ El Nino event generally means poor snowfalls because “Big fat highs sit down on south-eastern Australia, suppressing cloud and holding the fronts and rain from the southern oceans at bay”.

But Grasshopper notes that there are two possible forms of El Nino, the other being the so-called “Wrong-uns”:

“When these turn up the higher pressures don’t eventuate and the lower pressures move north to encroach upon Australia. This is going to mean more frequent and/or stronger westerly winds, and the air in those westerlies is going to be sourced from the southern oceans. We won’t necessarily get more precipitation, but when it does arrive it should be colder, and so more likely to fall as snow”.

This is the first forecast of the season, but the prognosis is not great:

“… in the meantime my forecast of peak snow depth at Spencers Creek this winter is a paltry, pathetic and potentially petrifying 140cm, with the first 50cm storm waiting until late July to pay a visit. That would make it the worst year since 2006, another Classic El Nino through June/July/August that only managed 85cm peak snow depth at Spencers Creek.”

There is the hopeful observation that:

“we’ll always have a roll of the dice that a couple of big storms will turn up during August”. Let’s hope.

Stay tuned for Grasshopper’s next forecast.

You can read the full report here.