Tag Archives: Winter

Praying for Snow

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The sacrificial ski burning to coax the ear of the gods

The sacrificial ski burning to coax the ear of the gods

Flames from the bonfire sparked overhead like tiny red snowflakes falling upward. I looked up and squinched my eyes just right, trying to remember the feel of snowfall on my cheeks. Huddled together with my husband, neighbors and friends, we chanted in unison.

Goddess Hecate,
I pray upon thee.
Make tomorrow a snow day;
So let it be.

After a week of sunny skiing in Green Valley, it’s time for more snow. Not that I’m complaining. While the city has been cold, the mountains have enjoyed warm temperatures. Skiers and riders have been relaxed and grateful as if it were the beer-drinking laid-back end of the season rather than the beginning. I’ve made turns every day, giggling into the collar of my parka. But after such warm temps, much of the snow in the main runs has been scraped down to rock. The quality has been skied out of the snow.

Now it’s time; we need more snow.

Snow forecast Sunday Morning

Snow forecast Sunday Morning

So Saturday night we lit a bonfire in the front yard, burned skis and snowboards, lifted shotskis and champagne, prayed to Ullr and Hecate and anyone else who might be listening. We asked for snow. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the next day, but soon. We need more snow soon.

In fact Crystal closed this week as we wait for our next snowfall.

And as if by magic this morning the forecast models are showing some promise, finally offering up colorful blobs of moisture and plunging temperatures. The latest extended GFS run is modeling snow starting early Saturday morning and continuing through Sunday. Sunday especially looks cold and snowy and very promising. Click on the photo above to check it out. At this point Sunday looks especially good, which admittedly is still a million light years away in forecast-years.

But still. Would the joy of Christmas be nearly as good if it was a surprise? No indeed. It is the promise, the hope, the longing for and finally the delivery of a powder day that makes it so awesome. So starting today, I’ve got my hopes set on this weekend.

Maybe Ullr really was listening to our heartfelt chants this weekend. I’d like to think he was.

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Incoming Snow

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Looking good for the weekend.

If you believe the weather forecast, we are headed for serious snow starting this afternoon through next week.

According to Larry Schick:

A big snow will move in Friday through Sunday. Initially, later on Friday, the snow level will be 3500ft. But Friday night through the weekend the SL will drop to 1500ft. As a result,  great quality snow will be the rule.  Expect 12-30″ between later Friday and Sunday. It will be snowing all day Saturday, with snow continuing Sunday, but easing up. Both days will be excellent. Monday looks fantastic with partial clearing – possible bluebird.

In addition, The Poobah is predicting (prognosticating?) March to be another one like last season. That means record snow, epic powder days and an extension of the ski season. While I’m not going to hold my breath (it just seems too good to be true), I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

When do YOU think we’ll be skiing this season?

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For those of you starting to place bets on the first day of skiing this year, I thought I should pass on some vital information. I’ve already posted Larry Schick’s awesome prediction for the winter (hint: he’s calling for another good one!) as well as NOAA’s official La Nina advisory.

This could be you

But there’s one more vital piece of information that you might not know about, especially if you live in the PNW. Crystal Mountain has a secret weapon. Snowmaking.

For those of you from anywhere else besides the PNW, this might seem a little ho-hum. Snowmaking, you say? So what.

Well, our new snowmaking system runs along the top of Green Valley, blowing hard, dense snow over the ridge. Since the GV ridge is often the achilles heel keeping us from opening, this blanket of early snow will allow us to open earlier. No one necessarily likes to ski on manmade snow. But it makes a killer base.

So, while we might only be offering a single ribbon of snow for the early season diehards, it will be skiing. And it could happen early. Some of the higher-ups at Crystal (including the one I’m married to) are saying we might be open by Halloween.

Whoa.

I, personally, would love to open before ski patrol training, which is the first week in November. Not that I don’t LOVE the week of training, but it’s always a very good sign if we’re open by then. Just saying.

I’m planning on doing an opening day contest over at www.blogcrystal.com, and I want to give you all the most information possible. Consider this your heads up.

Oh. And you might want to get those skis tuned up. Just in case.

Got a Backcountry Story to Tell?

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Every year Winter Wildlands Alliance creates their Backcountry Film Festival, touring all over the snowy world, bringing audiences compelling stories of winter-based, human-powered, non-motorized recreation or environmental preservation. Right now, they are looking for those stories. According to their website, you don’t even need a degree from a film school, or “footage shot while dangling precariously, camera in hand, from an ice wall in the Rockies.”

While you might not need a film degree, past award winners are no slackers. Last year Teton Gravity Research’s “Deeper” won Best of Festival and Sweetgrass Productions “Desert River” took Best Short Film.

Submit your short–less than 30 minute–video. It can be a documentary, fiction or experimental film.

The Film Festival premieres in Boise and travels during the winter months to more than 50 cities nationwide and is seen by over 7000 outdoor enthusiasts.

Three awards (cash, goods, or a combination of both) will be given:

  • Best of Festival
  • Best Short Short (under 5 minutes)
  • Best Environmental Message

All submissions must be entered by September 15th. See their website for more details.

Weather Forecast

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Mostly I like to be positive. I mean, I think of myself as an optimist. A glass half-full type of person. So when I look at the weather forecast, I’m trying to look on the bright side. Hey look! Another week of Spring-like snow. Just think, the sun’s getting higher in the sky, the moguls on the front-side are getting prime, and each lap on the gondola is greeted by Juan–the happiest lift op in the world.

But let’s be real. This is a La Nina season. I was promised feet of snow by now, layers and layers of powder days adding up to a sweet savings account. La Nina means powder, and well, we haven’t gotten much of that lately.

Not that I’m complaining.

But still.

I’m about ready to start burning skis, kissing my Ullr pendant and doing the “snow dance” (even if it requires me to run around in the cold in my skivvies).

What else can a girl do? How about you? What tried and true make-it-snow techniques are buried in your quiver. It’s time we bring them out.