I love snow!
Being a native North Carolinian, I've never gotten enough of it... even back when it used to occasionally snow around here. (Yes, I have pictures of the UNC campus with substantial snow!) So, a couple years ago, I started going away to find snow each winter. The past two years, I've gone to Burlington, VT. Burlington is a beautiful town. My first experience was at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. I also went to the Catamount Family Cross Country Center.
By the way, North Carolina used to get more snow. On many occassions, cars would be up to their tiretops in snow. And my cats used to love to play in the snow. They would put their front paws together and dash through it, acting like little furry snow plows. Tyler was especially fond of snow. But, we don't get much anymore. :-(
However, finally, on January 6, 1996, we got anther good snow!!! Despite a good covering of snow and some sleet, 7 of the 8 people scheduled to come to my house for dinner made it. (4 of them came in a 4-wheel drive.) After dinner and a movie, all except one left. The one leftover decided to make use of the sleeping bag she brought rather than braving the snow. The next day she left after digging out, using kitty litter and getting 3 people to help push. The owner of the 4-wheel drive Sidekick came back out on Sunday, picked me up, and drove us to the local golf course for some cross country skiing. That was fun!! I only fell once and I actually went down 3 hills (small ones, of course) without falling. Yippee!!! Having a snow this early has convinced me we'll have more this year. I have to go get my sled out of storage!
Update! And another (very small) snow on the weekend of Feburary 3, 1996. It started out as freezing rain, we had a fair amount of sleet, and then a dusting of snow... enough for me to go back out to the golf course to xc ski for a very short while. Mostly I went to throw bird seed out for the birds. I threw some out my backdoor and within 15 minutes, there was a chirping crowd including one squirrel. My cats had a great time watching from their warm vantage point inside the house. I also went out to my lovely land, walked up the steep hill, and threw some seed out for the birds there.
When I was a kid, we used to sled down the hill in front of our house. It wasn't steep, so climbing back up wasn't too hard, but it was nice and long and so we always got good rides. I still have my sled from those days, although it spends its time in storage now. :-( I'm determined to have to get it out this winter.
We also used to make snow cream when I was a kid. After a snow, we'd take a big aluminum bowl (I loved that bowl) out, scrape off the top layer of snow, and fill the bowl with the underlayers. Then we'd go back in the house and mix it with milk, vanilla, and sugar. Yum! That was a dessert! :-) (Not that we ever let it stay around long enough to eat real food first...)
My mother tells the story about the winter of the big snow in Boone, NC when she was in school at Appalachian. She has pictures to prove that the snow was up to the second stories of buildings and they had to helicopter food into people. I think I'll see if she will loan me one of those pictures to try to put up here.
Sometimes, when you really want something and don't get it, you have to be somewhat creative. It can be like that with snow, too. On a trip to Atlanta, GA and the northwest Georgia mountains (for mountain biking), a rare opportunity presented itself to make snow. Although it really wasn't snowing, the trees all had ice weighing their branches down, so we had to do something, didn't we?
In January 1997, I had a chance to buy an inexpensive plane ticket to anywhere I wanted to go. Given the timing, I wanted to choose somewhere that was relatively close (not in a different time zone), relatively inexpensive (not at the height of a tourist season), and preferably snowy. Based on a summer trip several years before, I chose Ithaca, NY. I packed my cross country skis, and hopped the plane to snowy Ithaca....
...except it wasn't snowy where I could ski! It was cold, grey, and fairly empty. I did find enough snow for skiing in the Finger Lakes National Forest, but that was about it. The wonderful state parks which are everywhere around Ithaca (and beautiful beyond your imagination in the summer), were mostly closed because of snowy trails. I'd thought it would be fun to walk the gorge(ous) trails in the snow, but I guess liability issues prevent them from inviting hikers to walk in ice and snow along gorge trails with sheer dropoffs. :-) It was a fun trip, but next time, under the same circumstances, I'll go back to Burlington, VT.
In January 1998, I packed my cross country skis, sled, and warm clothes and hopped in the car to go to Pipestem Resort State Park in West Virginia. When we made the reservations on Monday before leaving on Friday, I asked if the park rented xc skis so the friend I was going with could have fun, too. "Well, yes," came the answer--after a brief moment of dead silence. "But you have to have snow to use them." "Oh! No snow! Well, we'll just keep our fingers crossed, then," I replied. The next day, it started snowing in a lot of WV, including Pipestem. When it stopped, the amounts varied from about 12" to 42"--the state park had about 2 feet! On Saturday, we headed out to the park's golf course to find as gentle a terrain as possible. I was the expert--having done this a total of about 5 times! You can imagine how well we did! Well, actually, we didn't do too badly. We avoided as many downhills as possible, fell on a couple, but got good and sweaty and had a great time. After a brief drive to Hinton, WV, we went back to the golf course and rented sleds. The one I'd taken had runners--absolutely no use in 2 feet of loose snow! Pipestem has a sled run complete with a tow rope, but it was closed, so we had to trudge through 2 feet of snow uphill after every sled run. That was a lot of work! But fun. At one time, there were 6 of us at the top of the hill, and all 6 were from NC! After about an hour, we had to turn the sleds in which worked out well. We were worn out. :-)
The next day, we went back out on the golf course and, with one day under our belts (boots?), we did much better. I actually made it down several hills without falling! Believe me--that's pretty amazing. And the way I accomplished it was by not trying to slow down or stop. Luckily, the hills didn't end in sheer dropoffs, and I was able to gently glide to a stop. I also made progress in trying to learn to slow down by snowplowing. Grade: needs improvement. I even herringboned up a hill, which I'd never managed to do before without getting the ski tails tangled up. Whew. Now, if only we would get the next 3 feet of snow they're predicting for this week in the Pipestem area! (And the folks at Pipestem said we could have it! ;-))