Left: A stop sign is barely visible along Thompson Ave. in Rossland  Right: The last remnants of snow are being washed away by rain in Trail.

Left: A stop sign is barely visible along Thompson Ave. in Rossland Right: The last remnants of snow are being washed away by rain in Trail.

Plenty of snow and rain creates a tale of two cities

Jesse Ellis, a forecaster for the Southeast Fire Centre, has tracked about 50 per cent more snow so far this month than what’s typical.

The El Nino wet weather pattern that’s hit the region has brought much precipitation and at high elevation that means snow and lots of it.

Jesse Ellis, a forecaster for the Southeast Fire Centre, has tracked about 50 per cent more snow so far this month than what’s typically recorded from the weather station in Castlegar. He also noted 18 per cent more rain than average and much milder conditions in a sneak peak climate summary.

“The reason for this is we’ve had a steady stream of Pacific system after Pacific system coming in from the west, and it’s just been a really active pattern in terms of all the storms coming in over the area,” he added.

Trail residents may have been out shovelling daily early this winter but the warm weather in the valley has melted much of the white stuff now. The City of Trail reports that it’s on budget with snow removal.

The city was busy in December removing snow from West and East Trail neighbourhoods and downtown. Crews are now focused on removing snow from stockpiles and transporting loads to designated snow dumping areas.

“That’s typically what we’ve been experiencing in the last few years here,” said Larry Abenante, Trail’s public works manager. “You get the big dump of snow and deal with it and next thing you know it’s real mild again, and things are what you see right now.”

The case is drastically different in Rossland, where stop signs are almost engulfed in snow banks.

That provides a perfect setting for this weekend’s Rossland Winter Carnival and the snow-related activities.

The conditions couldn’t be better for Red Mountain Resort. The current alpine snow depth sits at about 215 centimetres, which is reminiscent of the 225 cm in 2005/06 when Red closed the season with the biggest snow chart year with 330 cm.

“We’re tracking right now to be one of the best ever but of course, we won’t know that until April,” confirmed Matt Henry, director of sales at Red Mountain Resort.

“When Red Mountain Resort hits the 2-metre mark in terms of snow pack, the skiing just becomes exceptional, and that’s where we’re at now. It’s setting up the foundation for the next eight weeks of incredible skiing.”

Though Henry wouldn’t give figures, he said Red broke all of its records in terms of visitors and revenue over the Christmas holiday period and has carried that momentum since.

“Red is on the radar and those who have put it on their bucket list, have watched the snow reports and have decided now is the time,” he said.