A full-fledged, big-n-tasty motherload of powder
March 17, 2006
In our meetings at the newspaper, when the subject of weather is talked about it engenders sometimes emotional responses from the involved parties.
There is a faction of the newsroom, including me, that believes when weather happens we should put it in the paper, preferably in a prominent position on the front page (provided there is not a more pressing story to take its position). But I’m a little more “New Tahoe,” and my sensibilities about snow may be a little less refined. I still marvel when it drops more than a foot overnight, and I actually enjoy shoveling and cranking the snowblower. (No, I will not shovel your driveway.) I also like having a reason to put ‘er in four-wheel drive.
The other faction says weather happens. And we live in the mountains. So when it happens here it’s white and fluffy. This is a reasonable argument to make, and is backed by the evidence … I’m looking at it right now through my office window, and have been looking at since about the beginning of March. Although the weather/story debate sometimes gets … heated … we always find a compromise, and in the end our readers generally have an idea what the weather was like yesterday, and what the forecast is today.
March is usually the month the resorts get nervous about making it until the end of the season, about the same time locals turn to other areas of interest, like getting their bikes all tuned up for spring. Having had few non-work powder days this season (only a couple fell on the weekends), I’m happy about our Miracle March. I finally got a full-fledged, big-n-tasty, motherload powder day at Kirkwood a week ago Saturday. It was a perfect storm (literally, the last of the snow was falling as we wound our way on Highway 88), and then the crowds were minimal when we got there … and it lasted all day.
Conditions on The Wall could not have been better. Skiers and boarders were hucking off the cornice, and the powder was deep enough to remain great even as it was quickly skied out. Our group regularly took happy tumbles as we caught our edges in the deep stuff, and at lunch I practically had to get undressed to remove all the snow. One of my boots was even full, but I couldn’t feel my feet anyway. We had planned on making it to the back side, but we got lost in our repeat runs until closing time.
A week earlier, we celebrated what was arguably the second-best powder day of the year. March 4 our group got about five runs down Heavenly’s Mott Canyon before the crowds closed in. Unlike last week, the tourists had made it into town, and before I knew it, I was in a 30-minute lift line, standing with a bunch of fraternity brothers from Cal. By the time I got on the chair I was a pledge. Mott Canyon will do that to you if you aren’t careful.
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Overall, winter may be wearing out its welcome with some, but not with me. I’m more than happy to get that late-winter early spring surprise, and enjoy it for that extra hour every day. I’ve lived here long enough to know that by September I will be craving snow again, so I’ll take advantage of it while I can.
After a somewhat disappointing winter, Mother Nature might finally be willing to play along. If the forecast holds solid, we may get our Miracle March after all, and our snow records. And we’ll have those awesome powder days. This type of weather is definitely worth getting emotional about. My emotion? Happy.
– Jim Scripps, managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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