Winter has arrived early across the Okanagan Valley, B.C., and Apex Mountain Ski Resort is gearing up for its earliest opening in history.
As originally reported by kelownacapnews.com, the slopes of Apex will likely be seeing skiers earlier than ever before this season, after a 30 cm (1 foot) dumping in just 24 hours will have the “World Cup course” open by the end of the week.
“It’s the earliest we’ll have ever been open in our history,” said the resort’s general manager James Shalman. “We had about 20 cm last night, five centimetres the day before, and we’re making snow too.”
Below is live footage from a webcam at the resort [courtesy of Nest and apexresort.com]:
And while the unprecedented snow is a blessing to the resort team, the bone-chilling cold isn’t — Shalman explains: “The snow right now is falling at minus seven, and it’s so light, when our groomers go to pack it, it just fluffs up around the tracks. When it’s cold, you get light, dry powder which is beautiful to ski through, but as far as packing and base-building it’s not the best.”
Saying that, Shalman adds: “We are probably two weeks ahead of where we’d usually be, with our freestyle course, with our snow-making, everything is going really well.”
Polar air has been increasingly dropping out of the Arctic of late, thanks to a weak and wavy “meridional” jet stream flow (caused by the historically low solar activity we’re currently receiving). This, while being a key driver of the anomalous cold, isn’t the only climatic forcing at play this season.
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the colder counterpart of El Niño, caused by cooler than average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
“We keep getting these big dumps early, in the middle of October we probably had about 50 cm,” concludes Shalman. “The forecast for the season is phenomenal. The La Niña years have been some of our best snow-years.”
And there’s much more to come, particularly over the weekend and into next week. The GFS is forecasting accumulations that are simply ‘off the charts’:
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.
Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift