CyclovaXC Winter Forecast for the Upper Midwest

That's right folks, we're feeling lucky and that mother nature is on our side this winter! I'm sticking my neck out there for CyclovaXC readers and offering my forecast for our Midwestern Winter, and what that means for us as skiers. A bit risky for sure, something professional meteorologists don't generally do, something that only CyclovaXC and the Wooly Bear Caterpillar dare to do (more on this later).

Now having worked in the ski industry since 1997, most of that time for Toko (and managing the Toko Wax Tipline, a service many of you likely use), I have a great passion for winter weather. I love experiencing it, trying to predict it, and making fast skis in all sorts of winter weather.

In this day of the internet and vast amounts of info at our finger tips, I've done a lot of research on the topic. There are a whole lot of folks who have a whole lot of different opinions on the matter, some approaches involve more science than others.

Following are several facts which my weather predictions are made on:
  • This winter there will be a "moderate El Nino sea-surface temperature event in the Pacific Ocean".
  • We of course have our normal weather trends and patterns, which help us in guessing where and when it will be cold/hot or precipitating. This is particularly useful for XC Skiers
  • Interestingly, Farmers Almanac and the National Weather Service are generally agreeing this year with thier long range winter forecasts, which is historically unusual (at least for the time I've been paying attention to these forecasts). To learn more about the NWS's incredibly confusing methodology, click HERE.
  • Ahvo Taipale (owner of Finn Sisu) and I were recently talking about our expectations for the winter. We both observed the brown stripe on the back of Wooly Bear Caterpillars being quite narrow, indicating a severe winter is coming. (Sometimes you find the answer in your very own back yard, rather than on the internet.)
So, with CyclovaXC's focus on the Upper Midwest, here is my forecast for our winter, "The Winter of CyclovaXC", broke down by month:
November: Colder than average with average precipitation. First accumulating snow for most of the Midwest will likely occur the last week of November. Good skiing will be had in Ironwood, on the Iron Range, and of course out at the Fall Camp in West Yellowstone.
December: Close to average temps and precipitation (snow). Note that average means good skiing for most of us! Good skiing will be had for most areas, including the Twin Cities Metro Area.
January: A intense cold spell the first few weeks of the month, warming to average temps the latter half of the month. Precip will generally be below average in January. Let's hope that we hold the snow we got in December during January!
February: Ideal skiing weather and snow (average temps with low precip) will be prevalent early in the month, with a intense warm/wet spell late in the month. The days leading up to the Birkie will be nerve racking due to warm temps, but the race course will be in solid condition.
March: Often the snowiest month of the year, 2010 will likely be no exception. The Winter of '09-'10 will seem to not want to give up, just when we're all ready to get out on the bikes and put the skis away. Don't worry, Spring will eventually come...

There you have it, you can go ahead and plan out your winter season now! You say wow, I can't believe this amazing new XC Ski, Bike and Run club just demystified winter for me (good thing you just pre-ordered a ski suit)... That's not all, in a post coming soon, CyclovaXC will take this winter of pre-domination one step further by offering wax tips for select major races. These wax tips will be months in advance for the 3 major wax brands (Fast Wax, Toko, and Swix). After the ski season is over, we will review all of these predictions and see how we rate. Now come on, give me some love by commenting on this article!

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