Joseph asked the question on the Teton Valley Weather Facebook page last Sunday. “Are our best ski days behind us?” As March starts off with lots of wind, warm temperatures, and not much snow, that is the question on a lot of winter sports enthusiasts’ minds. Is it time to turn their attention to fishing?
Just looking at how this winter has gone, with some moderate wintry spells separated by warmer than average sunny days, it certainly appears that the wintry spells are getting less wintry, and the warm spells are getting longer as we march into March. We are starting to detect the odor of skunk on the breeze, and people are reporting the occasional spring bird. Richard saw the first robin of 2021 last Friday. On Saturday, I saw a housefly crawling around on the ice; then it flew away. Flies and skunks, can mud be far behind?
So at first glance, you have to think that the best of the winter ski weather is behind us. But there is one ray of hope. It comes from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Back in February, they made their latest long-range outlook for the months ahead. It calls for slightly colder temperatures than average and slightly more precipitation than average overall this month. Obviously, the first half of March is starting out warmer and drier than usual. The only way their outlook can come true is for the second half to be cold and snowy enough to tip the balance. “Marvelous March” has saved more than one marginal ski season in years past. If it’s going to happen this year, it’ll be the days after St. Patrick’s Day that do it. Luck o’ the Irish?