Fat Skunks and Woolly Caterpillars: Using Folklore to Predict Snowfall

It’s that time of year when you have to decide whether to book your ski vacation early or wait until the weather forecast is clear to pick your destination. If only you knew exactly when and where to find fresh powder!

Our forebears were just as concerned with winter conditions as we are, but for different reasons. They lived without modern conveniences and were completely dependent on the land. It’s no wonder that they developed a complex system of folklore around predicting winter weather patterns.

Some of the old wives’ tales seem downright silly to our modern ears, while others may have some basis in fact. Either way, they provide a fascinating peek into the past, before the era of instant weather updates on our phones.

Here are a few indicators that a cold, snowy winter may be on its way:

  1. According to one old wives’ tale, the number of heavy fogs in August predicts the number of snowfalls in the coming winter.


  1. Oak trees may hold the key to impending weather patterns. An abundance of acorns in fall, sometimes referred to as a “mast year,” may mean that the winter is likely to be extra harsh.


  1. The woolly bear caterpillar has 13 segments, which can be black or brown. According to legend, the more brown segments the caterpillars have in a given year, the longer the coming winter.


  1. When you see squirrels, skunks, and birds growing unusually plump, you can feel fairly confident that the winter is going to be cold, according to another bit of folklore.


  1. Another old wives’ tale claims that thunder or lighting in winter means that snow will fall within a week.


  1. Here’s one that rhymes, “A halo around the moon means there will be snow soon.” Some meteorologists say snow-filled clouds may in fact cause a halo in certain situations.


  1. Another tale claims that if the smoke from your fire creeps along the ground rather than rising, a harsh winter is on its way.


So what do you think? Will 2015 be an epic year for skiing and snowboarding? Are your squirrels plump and your caterpillars brown?

One thing is for certain—you can get an incredible deal on your ski vacation when you plan early. That’s especially true here at ResorTime. We’re currently running a pre-season special on select ski resorts in Canada, California, and Colorado.

So go ahead, take a gamble and book your ski vacation. Then keep an eye on the sky—or perhaps just the weather app on your phone.



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