Mid-fall snowstorm creates a winter wonderland at Whistler
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 3:14PM PDT
There are still two months left in autumn, but it already looks like winter at Whistler Blackcomb.
The popular ski resort was hit with a winter wallop over the weekend, as a storm system that brought days of rain to Metro Vancouver dumped 75 centimeters of snow on its peaks.
Photos captured chair lifts and snow plows barely visible under piles of powdery flakes.
Mid-mountain, its weather station at Pig Alley was buried under 55 centimetres on Tuesday, but the location at an elevation of 1,650 metres is expecting another 25 by Saturday morning.
Fall snowfall is not uncommon for the popular resort, but Environment Canada's data from 2015 showed no snow accumulated on Whistler Mountain last October. In November, only 20.5 centimetres fell by the end of the month.
The average temperature for the month of October is 6.7 C, based on data collected between 1981 and 2010. The same set of data shows the average number of days in October with snowfall (of any amount), based on the last 30 years.
A statement from the resort said its official opening day for winter sports is scheduled for Nov. 24, but runs may open earlier "if Mother Nature continues to deliver."
Whistler Blackcomb, which was recently purchased by Vail Resorts, reminded eager snowboarders and skiers that access to the mountains is not permitted until opening day for safety reasons.
"Our operations teams are working extremely hard right now to get Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains ready and safe for opening," the resort said.
However, the current forecast from Environment Canada predicted a full week of rain for the mountain, so the snow may soon be melted from the slopes.