I’m snow hungry.
You know what I mean. You stand in front of your house as the sun sets over the mountains, watching for clouds, testing the wind direction, sniffing the air. You’re like a wolf nosing the atmosphere for the scent of prey, and when you catch it, when your nose tingles with that faint sting of cold-wet you howl and grab your gear and sprint to the high country, hungry for snow.
It’s almost that time.
As I write this, nothing but sun is falling anywhere in the Western U.S., but in the last few days and weeks snow has begun to accumulate. In Colorado, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Loveland, Copper, and Wolf Creek are open and reporting a base depth of 18 to 20 inches.
Four areas are open in Utah, all just up the hill from Park City, including Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude. They’re each reporting between 26 and 30 inches. Maybe I’ll take a little road trip next weekend… Mt. Rose in Nevada is prematurely open with half a dozen inches on the ground. Mammoth opened with about a foot at the base.
Surprisingly, nothing is open yet in Montana or Wyoming. Unsurprisingly, nothing has opened in New Mexico. I remember sitting at my dining room table in Albuquerque this time last year, looking at the still-green leaves on the trees outside, reading the news of the first cold fronts moving through my hometown Rockies, and writing about my snow hunger. This year I’m back in Colorado. I’m sitting here watching the sun rise on a near-naked Pikes Peak, checking snow reports across the country, and the hunger lingers.
What is it that creates this yearning?
Are we simply longing for the satisfaction of leaving “civilization” behind for a while? (Except of course when I-70 West from Denver becomes a parking lot on Saturday mornings. I’ve actually seen people pass a coffee thermos from car to car). Is it the excitement — and often fear — that comes along with sustaining ourselves in an inhospitable environment? (Not including time on the Imperial Express SuperChair to the top of Peak 8). Is it the feeling of riding boards, skis, snowshoes, skins up or down a mountain’s features made smooth by falling snow? Is it as simple as the urge to be alone in the woods on a cold, quiet day?
For me, it’s all of these things. I hunger for snow because it reintroduces me to the world. Somehow, snow makes everything new.
In this spirit, I am going to branch out with this season’s Snowblog and explore something new. Last year I focused mainly on alpine skiing at resorts in Colorado and New Mexico. This year, in addition to alpine skiing, I’ll explore AT skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and maybe even ice climbing. I’ll write gear reviews and trip reviews. I plan to play in the high country as much as my body and my job will allow, but I’m not going to limit this blog to snow sports (although that will probably be the emphasis). Maybe I’ll write a post about snow cone recipes or tour the best high-altitude bars in Colorado. Maybe I’ll learn how to build a snow cave. If I’m lucky enough for a major blizzard maybe I’ll write about being stuck in my house watching Curb Your Enthusiasm on DVD. Who knows? I hope you’ll read and respond to this season’s posts as you did last winter.
The snow is nearly here. We will soon satiate our snow-hunger.