How is the snow in Ellicottville after near record mild January?

Warm temps in Toronto, but good snow in Ellicottville.

Toronto just had its third warmest January on record and its second wettest.  Toronto’s average temperature was a staggering 4 degrees above normal.  It was also Toronto’ second wettest January on record.  With next to no snow on the ground in Toronto, it’s easy to assume that there is also a lack of snow in Ellicottville.

South of the border in Buffalo, it was similar story.  Here it was only the 9th warmest January, but snow falls were still well below average.

Wasn’t this winter supposed to be cold?

It was.  The Weather Network predicted a good old fashioned winter for most of Eastern North America.  To their credit, they just announced that they are eating crow.

So How is the Snow in Ellicottville?

Pretty good actually.  Below is a screenshot from Holiday Valley’s website today.

Tons of snow in Ellicottville!

The snow in Ellicottville is great despite a warmer than average winter.

Any Silver Linings?

Apart from the fact that you haven’t had to shovel your driveway and Ellicottville golf courses maybe opening early?  Well, yes actually.  One of the consequences of the milder weather is that the great lakes virtually ice free.  In total, the Great Lakes have just 6.7% ice cover.  Lake Erie has just 0.4% ice cover.  Normally at this time of year, we would expect around 50% of the lake to be frozen.  Why is this good news for Ellicottville ski hills?  Because it means plenty of potential for lake effect snow.  Lake effect snow in Ellicottville occurs when cold, arctic air passes over the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie.  The result is a delivery of white gold!

Any More?

In our unscientific opinion, it may show that skiing in Ellicottville might actually be more resilient in the event of climate change than we thought.  Few industries are at greater risk from climate change than skiing.  However, it is encouraging that both Holiday Valley and Holimont have coped so well with a winter that was 4 degrees above average in Toronto.

Thank a Snowmaker!

Lake effect snow may be white gold, but don’t overlook the efforts of the snow makers.  Or the investment that both of Ellicottville’s ski resorts puts in to its snow making.  It’s an investment in today and whatever Mother Nature has in store in the future.  After all, good snow is crucial for Ellicottville skiing, Ellicottville’s real estate market and Ellicottville itself.


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