Farmer’s Almanac predicts colder, snowier winter

By Mac Christie

The recently released 2012 Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a colder and snowier than normal winter for Saskatchewan this year, good news for snowmobiling enthusiasts.

The almanac said winter temperatures will be three to four degrees colder than normal, with the coldest periods coming in early December, mid January, early to mid-February and early March.

It’s also called for higher than normal snowfall, with the heaviest occurring in late December, late January, early to mid-February and early March.

Environment Canada’s three month forecast seems to agree, indicating normal or below average temperatures and higher normal or higher than average snowfall.

Northern Lights Snowmobile Association president Cindy Gottlob said the prediction is good news for the club.

“It would be perfect,” she said of the forecast. “Even if it’s 85 per cent accurate that would be great.”

The almanac also calls for a late season snowfalls, something Gottlob welcomes.

“Hopefully our season can start sooner and end later,” she noted. “We can get out with the groomer and groom more trails, keep them groomed longer.”

The association has around 20 members and is responsible for 376 km of trails in the area.

But the promised snow won’t have much of an impact on snowmobile dealers, said Dan Keith, sales manager at Renegade Recreation in Meadow Lake.

“Some guys will wait until the snow’s actually on the ground,” he noted. “The forecast isn’t always right.”

Keith added most of Renegade’s business happens right before the Christmas holidays, so the riders can get most of the season in with their families.

“A lot of it’s after they see what the season is going to be like,” he said, adding only about 10-15 per cent of their snowmobile sales happen before it snows.

But, he added, the predicted weather could be a mixed bag for snowmobilers.

“A lot of snow is good,” he said, “but cold weather can be a mixed blessing. Some guys don’t want ride if it’s any colder than 20-below.”

But Keith said he’s not in that group.

“I personally don’t care,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll just put more gear on and go.”

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