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How Real is the Monster El Nino?

Written by Jussi Oksanen


Posted on November 10 2015

Like you, we keep hearing reports of the monster El Nino that is supposedly heading our way this winter. With all kinds of predictions, from the heaviest precipitation on record to the rapturous thought of deep powder in our mountains, the media is telling us that this is going to be a big one. We decided to cut through the hype and go straight to our friends in the know at Protect Our Winters to find out what's really likely to happen. Here's what they have to say...


We keep hearing about the monster El Nino that is coming our way this winter. How accurate do the predictions seem or is there a lot of media hype? 

At this time of year the predictions are pretty rock solid - scientists can see the warm water setting up which is definitely the determining factor.


We’ve noticed that the predictions have already changed in some locations, such as the Northwest, from epic to “epicly” bad. Which one is right? 

Not sure, and I don’t think we’ll know until we know.  Its tough to pinpoint the way the jet stream and storms will set up on the west coast, they could come in very far south, north or somewhere in between. 


Snow. We are definitely thinking about snow… Is this the winter that we will finally see our West Coast mountains covered in powder? 

We hope so, obviously. I believe so. We do know that the likelihood of precipitation is very, very high.  So were just waiting to see if it’s cold enough to snow and where the storms will punch though the west coast.


With temperatures getting higher in places like Lake Tahoe, are we looking at the increased precipitation hitting us as rain more than snow? 

Yes, for sure.  That’s the trend unfortunately.


POW is all about protecting our winters, so is this something you are excited about over there? 

Yes, of course.  We’re riders too!  We want it to snow as much as possible - too many of our friends’ jobs and businesses depend on a consistent winter. Honestly as much as we love our jobs, if we had to go out of business tomorrow that would just mean we all were successful.


We know that Jeremy Jones is constantly chasing the best conditions. How have the El Nino predictions affected his plans? 

That’s a good question! He loves riding in California and has had to put those trips on hold for the past few years, so I bet he’s got some trips planned in the Sierra if all goes as predicted.


The snow industry has certainly taken a beating these last few years (of poor conditions). Do you think this could mark a turn around in its fortunes? 

Yeah, we hope so.  Snow is good news not just to riders but for all the businesses in our resort towns and this giant industry of ours that depends on a snowy and cold winter.  So bring it on, it can’t come soon enough especially here in California.