Saturday, February 09, 2008

Snow Advisory

The snow pile next to my garage now has the same square footage as the garage itself. It isn't as tall, but it covers the same area. And that's just one snow pile,with half the winter still to go.

All this has accumulated without any real blockbuster storms. Six, eight, maybe twelve inches at a time, snow has been piling up since early December with only a couple of interruptions.

You'd think this much snow would be a pure blessing for skiers, but much of it has fallen right around, or slightly above, the freezing point, making it heinously sticky during and just after the storm. The snow isn't necessarily gloppy, but flirting back and forth over the freezing line turns it into a kick waxing nightmare.

To give you an idea of it, Swix's VR kick wax line,which was supposed to have fewer waxes with wider ranges than previous formulations, has about five waxes out of nine devoted to temperatures between 30 and 36F. Two more apply to new snow in the upper 30s.

Above the freezing point, new snow quickly melts and squashes down in the tracks, while remaining treacherously grabby where no one has been on it. Waxless skis work better than anything in conditions like this, but without some sort of chemical treatment applied to the base, people come plodding in with a wedding cake on each foot.

Nothing stays the same. The snow transforms with time and temperature. But just when we seem to have a stable surface we get another storm. Another one is due this afternoon into tomorrow. Predicted high temperature? Twenty-nine to 33F.

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