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Coastal ski hills anxiously watch the weather as El Nino approaches

VANCOUVER — Depending on who is making the predictions, the upcoming winter will — or will not — bring lots of snow to B.C.'s south coast mountains.

Most forecasters agree the incoming El Nino weather system will mean warmer coastal temperatures, but opinions vary about what that means for snowfall on Whistler-Blackcomb, Vancouver's North Shore or Mount Washington on Vancouver Island.

Mount Washington director Don Sharpe says El Nino's warm, wet years have traditionally dumped the most snow there and he's hopeful for the 2015-2016 season.

But Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald says the higher than normal temperatures will push freezing levels up by as much as 400 metres.

He says precipitation that would normally fall as snow, will instead come down as rain, potentially affecting Vancouver's North Shore hills, which are all below 1,500 metres.

MacDonald says Whistler at 2,181 metres or Washington at 1,917 metres could escape the soggy predictions. (CTV, Global)

The Canadian Press

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