It’s never that simple. There are so many brilliant minds in this field and yet long range seasonal forecasting has extremely low predictive success rates. Because there are so many moving parts and conflicting signals to factor.
It’s possible we wasted our solar cycle shot last winter. That wouldn’t surprise me. But it’s also possible last winter was just the start of an overdue longer period of high latitude blocking. The winter of 2009 had some decent blocking that did us no good. So did 2011. From 2009-2013 actually featured a pretty favorable high lat much of the time but it really only paid off much in 2010.
Going further back 1977-1980 featured quite a bit of blocking following a period before of relatively little help up top. And it didn’t always work out wrt snowfall for various reasons but we certainly did cash in at times during that longer window.
We can only hope that last winter the trend up top flipped and we have more luck with future -AO periods. For the record the blocking in 2009 was muted by the pac in much the same way as last winter.