Through the end of 2012, northeast Washington had pretty normal snowfall and North Idaho was slightly above normal, says meteorologist Jon Fox, of the National Weather Service. Temperatures stayed warm enough around Spokane that a lot of the above-average precipitation early in the season fell as rain, but there’s still been plenty of snow falling in the mountains.
“December was huge for us — we were pounded with snow,” says Sean Briggs, marketing coordinator at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint.
The snowpack at the summit was already over 100 inches by the end of December. Briggs checked their records dating back to the winter of 1982-83, and sure enough — it’s the deepest snowpack they’ve ever had so early in the season.
And that’s just a start, because winter is far from over. “Typically in the mountains we continue to accumulate snow for the next few months,” Fox says.
The long-term forecast suggests slightly above-average snowfall in the region for the rest of this winter. And, near-normal temperatures means that snow shouldn’t be melting away too quickly.
The snow got off to a bit of a slow start at Silver Mountain, in Kellogg, but there’s been good coverage since. The snow was in good condition through the holiday season, says Ana Campo of the snow sports school.
“It should keep snowing, but even if it stops we’ll be good,” she says.