By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s mountain snowpack is off to a great start this season thanks to a recent parade of snowstorms.

snowpack nutu Mountain Snowpack Off To Strongest Start In Years For Colorado

The early season snowfall has allowed several ski resorts to open early, including Keystone and Eldora.

opening day keystone breck frame 2031 Mountain Snowpack Off To Strongest Start In Years For Colorado

Keystone Ski Area (credit: CBS)

Below is a comparison of the mountain snowpack on Nov. 8, 2017 to Nov. 8, 2018.

What a difference a year can make!

2017 Mountain Snowpack Off To Strongest Start In Years For Colorado

Colorado snowpack on November 8, 2017. (credit: NOAA)

2018 Mountain Snowpack Off To Strongest Start In Years For Colorado

Colorado snowpack on November 8, 2018. (credit: NOAA)

On Thursday NOAA released their November El Niño update and it says there is still about an 80% chance that El Niño will form this winter.

alma snow Mountain Snowpack Off To Strongest Start In Years For Colorado

Snow in Alma from a storm in October (credit: Mark Milligan)

El Niño is a warming of the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of South America. It’s associated with another phenomenon called the Southern Oscillation. Together these features can impact on global weather patterns.

During an El Niño winter the storm track tends of favor the southern tier of the lower 48 United States with Colorado often on the northern edge.

capture Mountain Snowpack Off To Strongest Start In Years For Colorado

Flying over Colorado on a beautiful day. (credit: Phil Curry)

El Niño years have a decent chance to bring near to above normal snowfall to Colorado, including the southern mountains and the Front Range.

During some El Niño years the northwest mountains miss out if the storm track stays too far to the south.

Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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