The seasons have started to change: The days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting colder. For those who have a passion for skiing and riding, the anticipation of the winter season ahead is lurking in the back of their minds. Typically, a winter sport enthusiast would pick up their Farmer’s Almanac (different than the Old Farmer’s Almanac) for a look into what their future winter holds.

However, are the formulas of the praised almanacs still holding true? In the light of climate change, weather patterns have hit the globe with some unnatural disasters.

The two almanacs use two different methods for predicting weather. The Old Farmer's Almanac's has a formula based on solar activity, prevailing weather patterns and meteorology that has remained a secret since 1792. The other publication, the Farmers' Almanac, uses “sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position, and other top secret mathematical and astronomical formulas." Both are top secret, and both predict something completely different for the upcoming 2018/2019 winter season.

In an interview with Caleb Weatherbee, the prognosticator of the Farmer’s Almanac, he stated there have been very few, if any, changes to the formula they have used for nearly two centuries. Weatherbee shares that large short-term events, such as a significant volcanic eruption or a strong El Nino may alter the forecast, but otherwise they stick to their tried and true methods of forecasting — using natural cycles of the Earth such as the 11-year cycle of sunspots. The amount of solar radiation directly affects the weather and temperature, and can also be the reason why you struggle with wintertime blues.  

Weatherbee takes the opportunity to mention that there have been many strange weather events in the past that couldn’t have been accounted for in making their weather predictions, such as the dust bowl and the record-setting high and low temperatures of the 1930s. It is the Farmer Almanac’s stance that those weather event outliers are always going to remain unpredictable.

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So, what are the almanacs calling for this upcoming winter season? The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a warmer winter than in the past for most of the United States as a result of a weak El Nino. The exception is the southwest, where they are expected to see colder than average weather. The El Nino winds push out the colder air in the northwest, keeping the temperatures mild and a lack of precipitation.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac anticipates that any precipitation expected to be seen will be in the form of rain, not snow, with the exception of higher elevations. Those that were hoping to not be taking off their ski boots all winter might want to trade them in for some galoshes. The words that really stick out in the Old Farmer’s Almanac prediction for the upcoming winter season are “below-normal levels of snowfall.”

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The Farmer’s Almanac is singing a much cheerier tune to the hearts to all skiers and riders of the U.S. Its projection is that there will be a long, cold, snow-filled winter awaiting us. However, this is specifically for those that live east of the Continental Divide. The pacific-northwest can take a deep exhale to learn that they are also projecting above-normal amounts of snowfall in that region of the country, as well as in New England, the Midwest, and the Great Lakes.

There are two things that both the almanacs have agreed upon. One is that there should be normal snowfall in the areas in the west that typically see snow in throughout the winter. This is great news for those that have already bought their annual ski pass. The Farmer’s Almanac does boast that late storms in March may push the northern and central Rockies into the above-average snowfall category. The other point of agreement is that the snow that the skiers and riders hope to see will likely come late in the season. So, don’t let one weather prediction get you down; stay hopeful of spring skiing.

If you are really passionate about getting some steep and deep turns on the slopes in this winter, you might want to consider adopting the millennial lifestyle craze of van life. With differing prognoses from the two leading sources, it is safe to say that the weather will be unpredictable. If you winterize your RV and get ready to chase storms, you can still make your dreams come true of having some memorable days on the hill.