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Like a rude condo guest that won't leave, La Niña is expected to stick around until February this season, repeating last year's weather pattern of thin snow for much of ski country and an abundance of riches for a blessed few. "We see a trend of below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation for most of the Northern Rockies," says Anthony Artusa, a meteorologist for the Climate Prediction Center in Washington, D.C. The forecast for the Southern Rockies isn't so benign, with "trends pointing toward warmer temperatures overall." La Niña's effect on New England isn't dramatic, but Pacific Northwest skiers should remain La Niña's biggest fans. Patrollers at Mt. Baker, Wash., last winter had to dig trenches beneath lifts so that chairs could move uphill.

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