There are several reasons to ease up on the pre-winter dread. There are a few things that will likely make the 2015-2016 snowy season more bearable than last year. We decided to make a list:

Higher temperatures

OK, so take “higher temperatures” with a grain of road salt. It’ll still be cold, just not as cold as last year. writes that “mainly warmer than average temperatures are likely with parts of the Northeast and Southeast seeing much warmer conditions than average.”

Cheaper heat

You’re probably not going to have to pay as much for heating fuel. Compared with last winter, homes are projected to spend 10 percent less if they heat primarily with natural gas, 25 percent less if they use oil heat, 18 percent less if they use propane heat and 3 percent less if they heat with electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Unless severely cold temperatures in the Northeast coincide with severely cold temperatures in Europe, ample supplies should be available to meet demand,” writes the agency.

Lots of skiing

It’s probably going to snow. The Farmers’ Almanac’s 2016 winter forecast has this to say about precipitation:

“Over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, the winter will be stormy with a good amount of snow. We are ‘red-flagging’ the second week of January and the second week of February for possible heavy winter weather with a long, drawn out spell of stormy weather extending through much of the first half of March. So sharpen those skis and boards, because the eastern slopes look like the ideal places to carve some turns.”

That’s good news for the Bangor region where Nordic skiing trails have expanded in recent years. Here’s a list of trails in Bangor, Winterport, Old Town, Orono and Hampden.

Winter winds

Whether the sixth Game of Thrones book will be out this winter is anyone’s bet. George R.R. Martin’s forthcoming book “The Winds of Winter,” the latest in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series (on which HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is based), is going to be released sometime in 2016, according to Alejo Cuervo, an editor for the publisher who owns the rights to the books.

Even if it’s not released until sometime next spring, summer or fall, it will give many people something to look forward to throughout the winds of winter.

Fat bikes

This winter, look forward to having even more people to fat bike with. Fat bikes — which have over-sized tires designed for riding on unstable terrain like snow, sand and mud — are a great way to freeze, er, I mean, exercise in the winter.

The bikes are gaining in popularity — so much so that there’s now a fat tire festival. If you’re interested in learning more about fat biking, you can check out the local chapters of the New England Mountain Bike Association listed here.

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Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on domestic and...