Mother Nature and Father Winter are enjoying a raucous little love affair.
In fact they’re having such a good time together they probably won’t part ways until late May.
In the meantime, Basin residents must continue plowing roads, shoveling drives and trudging through snow drifts and slushy puddles in the hopes that one day, the mile-high snow berms will melt, and the Sorels can be packed away until next year.
Spring fever is making a guest appearance – not an altogether uncommon occurrence around this time of year – forcing some people to take measures. Most will grin and bear it, a few are seriously investigating escape options.
“This last week we’ve had five or six people walk in and say: ‘That’s it, get me out of here, now!'” said Lynda Matikosh, a travel agent at High Country Travel. “When we get a week to 10 days of gray weather, people with a certain amount of flexibility come in and tell us they need to leave, and fast. It comes in cycles, when it’s nice for a few days they decide skiing isn’t that bad after all.”
Tanning salon owners are also seeing a boost in business. They say now is the time when people yearn for light and warmth on their bodies to banish winter blues, and to prepare for tropical getaways.
“We’re getting really busy because everyone wants to get a tan and leave for vacation,” said a receptionist at California Style Salon. “Everyone’s going somewhere, Tahiti, Hawaii, and the number of customers stays high like this right into summer.”
Spring fever’s unpleasant accomplice, cabin fever, also tends to make its presence known around this time of year. Law enforcement officers say it can produce quite a strain on families and couples.
“When the winter has been long and people have been cooped-up inside, we notice an increase in family disputes,” said Sgt. Rick Canale, South Lake Tahoe Police Department. “I really think there is a correlation between long winters and spousal and family disputes. People just can’t expend their energy the way they want to and that can create a lot of problems.”
The answer to avoiding cabin fever, for many people, is booking a trip to warmer, gentler climes. Top on the list of wallet-friendly, soul-soothing destinations are Mexico and Hawaii, travel agents say.
“Mexico and Hawaii are really affordable, we’re also booking a lot of trips to Vegas because it’s warm, cheap and there’s so much going on,” said Paula Bartolome, owner and manager of Offbeat Adventures Travel Service. “We’re also doing a ton of trips to Europe because the skiing is so good. You can go there for under $400, before taxes, and there are some really good car rental deals. Airfare to Europe has just been phenomenal this year.”
The No. 1 destination for South Shore residents booking their trips through Offbeat Adventures is Puerto Vallarta, Bartolome said. Local trips to California destinations, have been limited by rainy weather over the past few months.
Although Bartolome said round-trip airfare to Las Vegas can cost as little as $78, jumping on a plane is not the only option available for the winter-weary.
“One of my favorite things is camping in Death Valley – it’s stunning,” Bartolome said. “The night is cold around this time of year but in the next few months all the wildflowers will be blooming. It’s one of the most beautiful places.”
The picturesque eight-hour drive to Death Valley can be broken up with dips in the numerous natural hot springs along the way, and provides an inexpensive respite from winter woes, Bartolome added.
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