British Columbia Daily Snow

By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 5 days ago April 16, 2024

Final Post of the 2023-2024 Season

Summary

Thanks for reading this season, and hope you all have a wonderful spring, summer, and fall! In this post, I recap the season's snowfall and snowpack, offer ways OpenSnow will be helpful during your summer adventures, and preview next winter.

Update

Whistler Mountain will continue to spin its lifts through May 20 (projected) and Grouse Mountain through April 21, while all other resorts are now closed for the season. For spring backcountry skiing, be sure to refer to our point forecasts for specific areas, or use our Forecast Anywhere feature to view forecasts for any location and elevation.

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The 2023-2024 season was below average in terms of snowfall and snowpack throughout BC. However, there were still periods of good snow and many areas saw a decent mid to late season rebound following a slow start to the season.

  • The period from October through December was much warmer and drier than average across BC. There were some good storms in early December to kick off lift-served ski season, but this was followed by a warm and rainy period that harmed the early season snowpack and led to delayed openings at many resorts.

  • January featured improved conditions and more consistent snowfall, and there was also a rogue extreme cold snap mid-month that was an anomaly in an otherwise mild winter. 

  • During the final few days of January, we experienced another setback as a warm atmospheric river event brought several days of rain up to ski resort summits throughout Southern BC.

  • The recovery from this rain event was slow initially, but by mid-February, consistent snowfall and more favorable temperatures returned to BC. 

  • From late February through early March, most areas in Southern BC saw their best conditions of the season as a series of strong and cold storms moved through. 

  • Late March through early April was relatively quiet, but there were occasional late-season powder days mixed in with fun spring skiing conditions, and snow coverage was improved thanks to the stronger storms of late February and early March.

  • While Southern BC (where most ski resorts are located) saw better conditions during the final two months of the season, Northern BC was much drier than normal from January to March following heavier snow early in the season in December.

April 1st Snowpack Compared to Average:

Snowpack as of April 1st (as measured by water content) was well below average throughout BC, ranging from 50-75% of average in most areas. The Interior and Powder Highway region was around 75% of average, while the Coast Range and Northern BC was around 50-60% of average.

Season Snow Totals:

The low snowpack numbers are a function of both below-average snowfall and above-average temperatures that occurred this season. 

Despite the grim snowpack numbers across the Coast Range, Whistler did OK in terms of overall snowfall through March 31st, with values of about 90% of average at mid-mountain.

This is partly a function of elevation as Whistler measures snowfall at about 1500 meters (5,000 feet), whereas warm temperatures resulted in a steep drop-off in snowfall compared to average at lower elevation resorts in the Coast Range due to a higher percentage of rain vs. snow events.

Whistler received the most snowfall in BC through March 31st with 903 cm (361 inches). The next highest season totals include Revelstoke (813 cm / 325 inches), Fernie (795 cm / 318 inches), and Whitewater (778 cm / 311 inches).

There is limited past-season snowfall data available at most ski resorts, but there are two areas with good records of historical snowfall data – Whistler and Revelstoke.

Whistler Snowfall Compared to Past Seasons:

Whistler received a total of 903 cm (361") through March 31, which is about 10% below its average value of 1001 cm (394 inches) through this date. Based on snowfall through March 31, this was the third below-average winter in a row, but there was a slight improvement compared to the past two seasons.

The graph below shows season snowfall at Whistler through March 31 for each season dating back to 2001-2002.

Revelstoke Snowfall Compared to Past Seasons:

Revelstoke received a total of 813 cm (325 inches) of snow through March 31, which is about 16% below its average value of 966 cm (380 inches) through this date. Based on snowfall through March 31, this was the second below-average winter in a row but there was a slight improvement compared to last winter.

The graph below shows season snowfall at Revelstoke through March 31 for each season dating back to 2007-2008 (Revelstoke's first season of operation).

Stick With OpenSnow This Summer

Don’t forget that you can use OpenSnow as your go-to weather app, no matter the season. We have continued to expand our year-round features to make OpenSnow your go-to resource for hiking, climbing, biking, and all other outdoor activities.

For the spring, summer, and fall, here are some of our most useful features...

  • Forecast for your Current Location
    Hit the "Weather" tab on your "Favorites" screen and you'll see the current temperature and wind speed at your location. Tap on that to view the forecast.

  • Forecasts Anywhere on Earth
    Just tap on the map then save your point. Great for hiking, climbing, biking, camping, etc.

  • Current Radar
    On our map overlays, select "Current Global Radar" for coverage throughout Canada. You can also select "Current US Radar" for coverage in the U.S. and Southern Canada.

  • Air Quality & Wildfire Smoke Forecast Maps
    Hopefully, we don't have to use these maps very often, but when we do need them, the forecast accuracy is quite good, especially for 1-2 days into the future. I recommend using the Smoke (surface) map as this covers most of BC, while the high-res smoke map only covers far southern BC.

  • Current Air Quality Map
    Hopefully, we don't have to use these maps very often, but when we do need them, seeing real-time Air Quality helps to know if outdoor activities are a good idea right now.

  • Hourly Lightning Forecasts
    Lightning cannot be forecast accurately, but we do know the general times and locations when it is possible. Don't get caught above the treeline during a storm!

  • Hourly Precipitation Forecasts
    Summer precipitation tends to be more showery and random in nature compared to frontal systems in the winter, but our hourly precipitation forecasts give you a good idea of which times of day rain (or snow) is more likely.

  • Hourly Wind Forecasts
    We show projected wind speed and wind gusts, which is great info if your hiking objectives include high-mountain passes or summits.

  • Offline Maps for Satellite & Terrain
    Heading off the grid? Download maps to take with you. A few taps and you'll be able to access the maps without an internet signal.

  • Western U.S. Daily Summit
    Don't be discouraged by the name. I also write a "Daily Snow" during the summer months that focuses on summer weather (rain, thunderstorms, fires/smoke) across the Western U.S. and Western Canada. I typically update this 3x/week from late May through early September.

Also, remember that your OpenSnow All-Access subscription (list of all features) is good for 365 days and all of the features above are included with your subscription.

In short, OpenSnow is a useful tool to track the freeze/thaw cycle for corn snow and peak-bagging this spring, avoid lightning and wildfire smoke this summer, escape to the desert for hero dirt in the fall, and find every powder day next winter.

Find Powder in the Southern Hemisphere During Their Winter

If your 'summer' pursuits take you to a snowy spot, you can use OpenSnow to track powder across the globe, including Southern Hemisphere ski regions such as South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Our forecasts work on any land area on Earth for 365 days a year, and you can quickly see where it's snowing with our Powder Finder.

Our team of local forecasters is also expanding to include the Southern Hemisphere. Last year, we introduced the South America Daily Snow, and this year, we are excited to launch the Australia and New Zealand Daily Snow. Stay tuned for this if you have plans to head down under this "summer".

Next Winter (2024-2025)

This past winter, we were in an El Nino, which has a strong correlation with warmer-than-average temperatures in BC. That certainly held true this season.

As of April 2024, El Nino is rapidly weakening and confidence is increasing that we will head into La Nina for next season. 

Learn More → El Nino and La Nina Explained

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, there is a 60% chance of La Nina conditions developing by mid-summer 2024 and a 80-90% chance of La Nina conditions developing by late fall/early winter.

This means that ocean temperatures in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean will become colder than average, which will lead to a change in thunderstorm patterns over the tropics, which then changes storm tracks around the world.

Unlike this past winter, La Nina winters tend to be colder across BC, favoring below-average temperatures and lower snow levels compared to El Nino winters. This is welcome news for areas that experienced frequent rain and snow level issues this past season.

In terms of snowfall, Whistler and Revelstoke are slightly favored for above-average snowfall in La Nina winters, but just barely, with 6 of the past 10 La Nina winters producing above-average snowfall at Whistler and 5 of the past 9 La Nina winters producing above-average snowfall at Revelstoke. 

However, the "ceiling" appears to be higher during La Nina winters as both Whistler and Revelstoke's snowiest winters (respectively) in the past 15-20 years occurred during La Nina phases.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth winter preview this fall for all of BC once we get a better handle on the La Nina outlook, and remember that winter outlooks, while fun and interesting, always contain a large amount of uncertainty and should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Wrapping it Up:

It's hard to believe I have just finished my 5th season of writing the BC Daily Snow! I have had a blast forecasting for this incredible part of the world and learning more and more about the local weather patterns over time. Every summer, I analyze data from the past season(s) in order to improve my forecasting the next season.

And our development team at OpenSnow continues to work hard to fine-tune our proprietary forecast data and add awesome new features every year. 

We are so grateful that we have earned your support, and we will continue to work hard to earn your support for decades to come.

Thanks for reading the British Columbia Daily Snow this season, and I hope that you have a wonderful spring, summer, and fall!

Alan Smith

About Our Forecaster

Alan Smith

Meteorologist

Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been working in the private sector since 2013. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating.

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