The winter of 2013 and 2014 will bring plenty of snow to the winter sports resorts in both the West and East, though the West will get off to a much quicker start as cold air gets established during November and December from the Rockies to the central Prairies.
Despite the milder temperatures during December and January, an active storm track will bring plenty of snow opportunities to ski country in eastern Canada, while mixed precipitation will be more common over southern Ontario.
The West Coast, including Vancouver, will have a changeable winter with drier-than-normal conditions for December before more typical winter storminess returns in January.
Temperatures will average close to normal for the first half of the winter then trend above normal for the second half of the season.
Snowfall along the Coast Range in British Columbia will be typical for an average winter with the greatest potential for heavy snowfall coming in January and early February.
The winter will get off to a strong start across much of the Prairie region with shots of arctic air being directed south from the Yukon Territory with increasing opportunities for accumulating snowfall over southern and western Alberta, including Calgary.
Average snowfall is expected for the central Prairies, including Saskatoon. However, below-average snowfall is forecast for the eastern Prairies, including Winnipeg, especially the second half of the winter as a seasonably cold, but dry flow of air takes over.
Eastern and Atlantic Canada
An active storm track through the Great Lakes during December and into a part of January will lead to above-normal precipitation this winter over a large portion of eastern Canada.
Snowfall will end up higher than normal from the upper Great Lakes through most of Quebec and into Labrador. Farther south in Ontario, from Windsor to Toronto and Kingston, the milder pattern during December and January will lead to more mixed precipitation events, which will cut down on the snowfall potential.
Despite the increase in natural snowfall, snow-making in the eastern and Atlantic Canada resorts will be a challenge the first half of the winter due to the higher temperatures and humidity.
A drier, colder pattern is expected to take over in Ontario and western Quebec during February as the storm track shifts toward the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
Due to the warmer start of winter in the East, lake-effect snowfall across the snow belts of Ontario will be lighter than usual for December and the first half of January before becoming heavier than normal for the second half of the winter with more sustained invasions of Arctic air moving over the mostly unfrozen Great Lakes.