Every year it’s the same. I’m ready to ski about 4 weeks too early. I start checking the forecast models, awaiting the long-range forecast, and keep my fingers crossed for a better than average snow year. This year I just might get my wish.
Earlier this week I hiked up to the base of Green Valley chair at Crystal, hoping to take photos of accumulated snow on bright autumn foliage, and my make first snowball of the season And I did. As John likes to say when the snow fall is less than deep, there was about 3 inches “measured at an angle.”
I love the unexpected. Even though I’m ready for winter, the wildflowers apparently are not. With the late summer at Crystal (and nearly everywhere else in the PNW, the flowers didn’t bloom until August, and some, apparently, not until September. A few left overs are now surprised by the early snow.
For me a sharp line exists between the season of flowers and honeybees and the season of fresh, snow and thin, splintery light. But really it’s a continuum between the two, ever changing and mutable.
October is a hard month for skiers. There’s the relentless effort of the ski industry, poking their movies and ad campaigns into last year’s embers, gladly fanning the flames. Then there are the still-bare slopes. Last year’s sharp-limned summer grooming might poke up through the first dusting of snow, but we all know we aren’t quite there yet. We are living in this in-between-but-severely-amped-up neverland between hills-are-alive summer wildflowers and oh-so-sweet first days of the season.
Some call it Autumn, I call it disconcerting. I know that I should be here now. I should don my most zen-like mien and enjoy these next fifteen minutes.
And I’m trying. See? I even took photos of the lovely flowers poking through the snow. I even wrote this blog post claiming, “I love the unexpected.”
And I do. I really do. I love all sorts of unexpected: storms that come in at night on Carl Sandburg’s cat’s paws and deposit several inches; stashes of powder still fresh days later; arriving at my favorite drop-in in Southback (SE L, for the initiated) and finding it pristine.
But certain sorts of unexpected are not so welcome. I won’t rehash them today. For those of you following along, you know what I’m talking about.
Forgive me my preoccupation with snow. As soon as it arrives, I won’t obsess. Dutifully portray the splendor of snow, yes. Obsess about the lack thereof, no. Pinky swear. You just might have to bear with me a few more weeks.
How about you? Are you a skier waiting for the snow to fill in?