Monday, December 19, 2016

skiing below zero

Mist rises off the lake.  The campground is deserted. Our fingers freeze as we step into our skis. The day before, at minus twenty, I punted and went to the gym. It was slightly warmer today, and I enlisted a friend who was up for the adventure.

We get a cold snap like this every year but people seem to forget it. They seem personally affronted by the temperatures. There are very few people out on any trails, even though the snow conditions are perfect. 

We glide along the deserted lakeshore and campground, speculating if this is the year that the entire lake will freeze and we will be able to skate. This used to be a regular occurrence, but has only happened once in the past seven years. 

Leaving the campground, we venture up into the summer cabins. Only a few souls live here year round: it is dark and frosty, suited only to a certain personality. I could do it, I think. 

We crawl up a snowy closed road, our skis protesting and sliding backwards. The water below us is encrusted with ice. The ski down is perfect, not too fast but not slow either. We have wings.

One of my hiking partners has moved to the Southwest, where she extols the warm days and the ability to hike year round (except perhaps at high noon in summer). While I am no fan of the cold, I think I would miss that incomparable warmth that comes when you have been exercising in it and you suddenly glow with self-created heat. I would miss skiing like this, in a world gone quiet and muffled by snow.

We see the car in the distance and I want to do another loop but with friends, you must compromise, so I do. Another storm is coming, promising much more snow. This is the biggest winter in years so far, but all of us are gun shy, remembering January thaw, flooding in February. Keep snowing, I think. Bring it, I think.

8 comments:

  1. Pure magic listening to the silence, except for the special sound of fresh powder snow, gliding down after the effort to reach the top. Yes I would have loved us to go back for another loop, but also understand. Thanks for this 'virtual' visit to your winter.

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    1. Thanks, Helen, even with only a couple of hours it was a great day!

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  2. Yes even we down here in the low lands of the Columbia Basin had a foot of Perfict Powder last week after the storm was over. I've been enjoying taking my pups for walks out on some Blm land in the snow every day, they love it, my older boy loves to make doggie snow Angeles and the 4 year old just runs and runs!!! Now we have warmer temps and rain in the forecast, bummer now the mess starts.....

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    1. Glad you got some snow. I was scared it was going to rain here too, but luckily it's all snow so far.

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  3. I, too love skiing on frigid winter days. I much prefer cold temps to blazing heat of summer. Only been out skiing twice so far, but hoping to get out over the holidays.

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    1. I feel like there's a narrow range of Temps that are just perfect. I wouldn't like living in a place that regularly reaches 100 degrees,

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  4. My nearby snow places got some good snow in November, but like seems to happen all to frequently over the past decade, things peter out in December. Now much of that lovely snow has melted with the rains. We use to be able to count on fantastic New Years Day snowshoe trips nearly anywhere, now there's only a few possible locations.

    I truly love 4 seasons and lean toward longer springs and falls, short winters and summers. I'm glad I have the flexibility to travel now otherwise it's 100+ for at least 6-8 weeks in summer. Much too hot for my outdoor enjoyment.

    If the beautiful snow doesn't return soon, I'll need to do some winter travel to find some. Oregon seems to have received the largest slice of the pie this season.

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    1. I think I read the Cascades were at 120% of normal. Of course it is still early. We are way up too.

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