Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Magic Land of Winter

Yesterday I blasted myself out of the sludge of fatigue and distraction to go for an hour up the mountain out back.

After a long time neglecting this convenient resource I am always surprised at how much it has to offer. I used to drive four hours to get to stuff like this. Now I ignore it right outside my back door.

The snow was three feet deeper at its height last year than it is now. That peak hit late in February or early in March. We had quite a bit of thawing between storms last year, so it was amazing that the storms brought snow every time and that it held up as well as it did.

There's just enough snow to cover the worst reefs out there. The powder has settled. The weather has been solidly cold for weeks.

On the climb I came across a tree carved with two names and a date.

Who were these people?

I like skiing alone because it gives me an excuse to go as slowly and cautiously as I like. The dense powder held my skis back on surprisingly steep slopes so I was able to sweep majestically through the trees on the way down.

The slope faces south. It makes a great place to bask as winter matures under strengthening sun. Late in the winter it loses snow quickly. For now, it's a great option because it is warm and well-lighted late into the afternoon.

Now snow falls in what is supposed to be a big storm. At some point the possibility becomes a certainty, so a couple of feet of freshies seems more likely than not. We'll see if the winter continues to build the way it did last year.

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