Snow won’t be back soon

Weather fore­cast sug­gests any ev­i­dence of Fri­day’s snow­fall will be gone to­day

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By STEVE MacNAULL

Fri­day morn­ing’s snow was short-lived, but, to bor­row a fa­mous line from the hit TV show Game of Thrones, it’s a re­minder that “win­ter is com­ing.”

“It was a short-burst, higher-in­ten­sity snow event from a low-pres­sure, cold front that came through from north­west B.C. that de­posited one to two cen­time­tres at most on the (Okana­gan) val­ley bot­tom,” said En­vi­ron­ment Canada me­te­o­rol­o­gist Bobby Sekhon.

“But, it didn’t stick. The ground isn’t frozen yet and the tem­per­a­ture was hov­er­ing around zero, so it melted pretty quickly.”

In fact, roads were wet, rather than snowy, by the time most mo­torists started their morn­ing com­mutes.

And any snow that fell later Fri­day ar­rived as big, fat, wet flakes that melted on con­tact with the ground.

It’s nor­mal to get the first snow of the sea­son in early No­vem­ber. But it’s usu­ally a sprin­kling that melts in the fol­low­ing milder weather.

That mod­er­at­ing high-pres­sure sys­tem is al­ready here.

This week­end, day­time highs will climb to 5 C and overnight lows will be -2 C, with no snow in the fore­cast.

“By Sun­day and Mon­day, the high­pres­sure ridge should set­tle in to give us the val­ley cloud and fog we’re so well known for in the win­ter,” said Sekhon.

Of course, at higher el­e­va­tions, it’s been snow­ing for weeks.

There al­ready has been havoc a cou­ple of times on the Okana­gan Con­nec­tor and Co­qui­halla high­ways with snow, slush and poor vis­i­bil­ity con­tribut­ing to crashes.

Time to get the snow tires on your car if you haven’t done so al­ready.

Area ski re­sorts are al­ready count­ing the cen­time­tres of the white stuff.

At Big White, east of Kelowna, five cen­time­tres on Fri­day took the snow base up to 70 cen­time­tres and the tem­per­a­ture was -4 C.

It po­si­tions the re­sort well to open for busi­ness on Nov. 22 for Amer­i­can Thanks­giv­ing.

There will be a party to mark the oc­ca­sion from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the base of the Ridge Rocket Ex­press lift with hot choco­late, give­aways and re­sort mas­cots Loose Moose and Lucy Moose do­ing the snow dance.

The frozen pre­cip­i­ta­tion is just what Big White needs, not just for open­ing, but for the Hall­mark TV movie Snow Princess, which starts shoot­ing at the re­sort in a few days.

Big White’s epic snow is also fea­tured on the front cover of the cur­rent is­sue of Ski, the biggest­selling ski and snow­board mag­a­zine in the world, with 1.5 mil­lion read­ers.

A shot of skier Ge­off Hol­man by pho­tog­ra­pher Todd Avi­son on a steep slope framed by snow-cov­ered trees il­lus­trates the North Amer­ica’s best re­sorts is­sue, which also in­cludes Banff and Magic Moun­tain in Ver­mont.

Big White is also in­vest­ing $10 mil­lion in four build­ings with 192 beds for staff ac­com­mo­da­tion.

There’s a hous­ing crunch on the moun­tain, with chalet and con­do­minium own­ers who might reg­u­larly rent their units to staff for the sea­son opt­ing for nightly rentals on Airbnb in­stead.

Big White also owns or leases other build­ings that pro­vide an­other 206 beds for staff.

In all, Big White em­ploys more than 1,000 dur­ing peak win­ter sea­son.

Sil­ver Star Moun­tain Re­sort near Ver­non is get­ting ready for open­ing day Nov. 22 with five cen­time­tres of new snow bring­ing its base up to 55 cen­time­tres.

Apex Re­sort near Pen­tic­ton won’t open till Dec. 8. It has four cen­time­tres of new snow on 22 cen­time­tres of cu­mu­la­tive snow­fall so far this sea­son.

STEVE MacNAULL/The Okana­gan Week­end

Re­porter Steve MacNaull’s new-driver daugh­ter, Grace, wasn’t im­pressed with Fri­day morn­ing’s first snow­fall of the sea­son.

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