Warm, dry fall expected to impact winter recreation in Utah

Posted at 9:37 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 23:37:21-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Weather Service says the entire western United States will see above-normal temperatures leading up to December.

For eager skiers and winter-lovers, weeks of warm temperatures seem to have no end. But is this dry fall a cause of concern?

“I’m not in panic mode yet,” said Dr. Jim Steenburgh. “I mean, this is what weather does. It fluctuates.”

Steenburgh is an atmospheric science professor at the University of Utah. He said October’s precipitation brought a great start to the snow season, but calls November “disappointing.”

“I think right now, it’s just a dry pattern that we’re in at the moment. I still don’t think for northern Utah that it’s an indication of what’s going to happen this winter,” he said.

Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City sells and rents bikes, skis and kayaks. Co-owner Dylan Timmer said they’ve seen slower ski business than they’d like, but he says people are soaking up the sunshine and taking advantage of opportunities to mountain bike.

“So it’s kind of balanced itself out with people still being out, riding their bikes,” he said.

He trusts the snow will come eventually, along with the customers.

“Normally if we have a season that starts a little bit later, it still ends up being a pretty good year,” said Timmer. “So we’re definitely hoping for that.

Steenburgh said his biggest worry this winter is starting it with a deficit in reservoirs. He’s crossing his fingers we can see some snowfall soon.

“So I’m concerned. I’ll be concerned until I see the snow measurements going well-above-average,” he said. “I hope that happens this year, but we just don’t know how it's going to end up.”