Jesse Howe: Indian summer? What are you so happy about, Winter Park?
My side of the mountain
The viable options at a time like this, this Indian Summer in which we find ourselves so deeply entrenched, lay themselves out plain as day. Try as you might to convince yourself otherwise, they aren’t pretty.
All I hear as I stroll through the Valley is how pleasant the weather is, how blessed are we to have such an amazing autumn. Why, we can Frisbee golf, mountain bike and long board the Fraser River Trail.
Essentially, all the things we have been doing all summer long, people.
No, I am not content to accept the conventional wisdom that if there is to be no early snow, a mellow and sunny fall will suffice.
No, I do not find it sufficient to contentedly grasp at the sports, activities and pseudo sports of season’s past.
No, I do not lay my head down at night with the knowledge of a long and sure winter ahead.
Nothing is sure. Not in this day and age, not in my lifetime.
The East Coast did not see a snowfall deemed relevant last season until Valentine’s Day. The winter of 2004-05 in the Northwest exhibited conditions drier than a Beefeater martini at Deno’s happy hour, a.k.a. heaven’s waiting room.
In fact, things took such a turn for the worst, Oregon and Washington sent their starving ski and snowboard instructors packing, looking for and securing work teaching the finer points of pizza and french fries in our very own Sorensen Park.
Europe has seen unparalleled and well documented glacial melting.
How arrogant are we to think that the same could not happen to us? A blessed location at 9,000 feet in the cradle of the northern Colorado Rockies generally ensures sufficient and consistent snowfall, yet I am certainly not the only one to witness the 24-7 spin machine that is the WPR marketing genius not only admit, yet print on brochures for all to see, a drop in “average” snowfall from 365 to 350 inches in the past few years.
Last year, was below average by the numbers, as we clocked in a paltry 336 inches. Yet, local consensus among those who frequented the resort with more than average regularity revealed a somewhat shocking revelation ” an above average snow year in their illustrious and well informed opinions, simply because it snowed at the correct times and stayed cold as well, nothing more.
“It will come, just be patient,” I hear. “It’s still early, no reason to fret,” is reiterated.
Don’t you see? I fall into the subcategory of those whose pearly whites blatantly rise into a Cheshire Cat half smile upon mention of September storms and old timer predictions of plentiful pow.
The mere mention of a Farmer’s Almanac prediction of the warmest winter on record in the Rockies is enough to make me strike up a well-meaning conversation with the bearer of bad news, and a polite assertion on my part would be only to point out that 21st century weather prognostication should be enough to force this poor excuse to sell a 20-page paperback into oblivion. My attempts at surefire optimism are beginning to come off as phony as the aforementioned paperback’s themselves.
Please allow me to make the bold assertion that among the majority of locals residing in this beautiful valley of ours, a desire to slide down snow-covered mountains not only brought most of us here, but encouraged us to stay.
Yes, there is much more to offer in our wonderful community than just skiing or snowboarding. Yet, this is what influences my decision to stay, and do not think for one minute I am the only one.
Come for the winter, stay for the summer, as the saying goes. I operate by a different proverb: Come for the winter, stay for the winter.
It is common knowledge that summer provides a cornucopia of outdoor activities that easily dwarf the variety offered during winter. Yet in my humble opinion, and again I am not the only one, that grand melange of off season goings on pale in comparison to what put this place on the map. What do you think brings those free spirited Texans back year after year? Even when we tell them with utmost sincerity to not let the door hit them on the ass on the way out?
Why it’s the snow silly. Try as you might to convince yourselves that we are a year round destination area, you can’t deny that first and foremost we are a ski resort, not a mountain bike nor a Frisbee golf resort.
Pardon my pessimism, but the first week of November isn’t a time to welcome shorts and flip flops, but beanies and gloves.
Excuse me, it seems my annual snow dance is long overdue.
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