Sunday, March 24, 2013

surviving "sprinter"

Last week we were riding our mountain bikes in shorts. This week we were skiing. The temperatures dropped from 60 to 15. This happens every year, but every year I forget.

For several weeks at this latitude, we are in between winter and spring, the weather unable to make up its mind. It's "Sprinter"--huge puffy clouds rolling in over the Zumwalt prairie, micro snow showers, bursts of sun. It can make a person a little crazy. Make up your mind already! It's pretty safe to say that we don't experience a normal spring like a lot of places. Instead it often leaps from winter right to summer--in late June.

There is still a lot of snow in the mountains that needs to melt before we can hike there.

Today the lake was trying to break up. It groaned and creaked and boomed, so loudly I could hear it from the top of the moraine.

It's often hard to find outdoorsy things to do in Sprinter. The trails are either an icy cascade, still snow-covered, or a deep mud. Bicycling is often an all out sprint to home as appendages threaten to freeze. Skiing can be a toss-up, happy crust cruising or mired in mashed potatoes. It takes patience and determination to make it through Sprinter.

But make it we will, because we aren't going to throw in the towel and move to warmer climates.

Sprinter has its own unique beauty that is easy to overlook when you are desperately seeking summer or mourning winter. The mountains have never looked more beautiful, shrouded in snow but touched with the slanting sunlight you can only get far north.

Avalanches thunder down the sides of Mount Joseph. Snow blows, a white flag, off the summits. There's a tease of warmth in the air. It's time to be in the moment instead of wishing it away.

Do you have Sprinter? What do you do to survive it?


  1. I love Sprinter. My favorite features of Sprinter is Snhailin, snow-hail-rain, and the stark contrasts (green-blue, black-white, yellow-brown). It's a beautiful, frustrating season that makes summer taste that much more delicious.

  2. Good Morning. I read your blog regularly but have never posted before. I consider "sprinter" to be a version of purgatory. I am left to run pavement and gaze at my muddy, post-holed mountain trails praying they will melt quickly. But I also agree it is a most beautiful time. Once "my" moutains are again accessible, they are all the better for the wait. Up here in Kimberley, BC, enjoying a very mild spring.

  3. Oh, yes...but still in winter snow and temps and not much sign of spring. A few days where it vacillates would actually give us hope for spring and summer!


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