Sunday, December 22, 2013

End of Winter?

Our notion of the seasons is based upon misty memories of seemingly distant childhood, itself constructed of myth and fantasy. Time was different then - a drive to the mountains felt like an eternity: how much longer? How long did winter last then? And how long is winter now, really? Our expectations, inflected with nostalgia, compete with the reality of climate change.

I found myself feeling down and out last week. I couldn't get over the feeling, more familiar in late March than mid-December, that the wonderful winter that we'd had was coming to an end. It didn't matter that that season had only lasted a week. When we took our first ride on the triple at Plattekill on opening day last Saturday, we were enjoying what felt like the depths of winter: light, fluffy powder and cold. It didn't matter that there really wasn't a base. Returning to Platty after 9 months, it felt as though we had never left.  
Chairlift? We don't need no stinkin' chairlift.
Switchback on Opening Day at Platty
Freefall
Opening day was glorious. Day two was heavy and challenging but how wonderful to have the whole mountain covered. And 3 days of gorgeous cross-country skiing at Mohonk Preserve and Shaupeneak Ridge, 5 minutes from my house in Esopus. It had been several years since we saw such conditions down here in the Valley.  
Shaupeneak Ridge, Esopus

Mohonk Preserve
And then, spring came. Temps in the 60's and rain will wash away all of what Mama N. gave us and much of what, with great ingenuity and industry, was made by man.  

But don't worry - winter will be back this week. And it's still early. Think of last week as foreplay, an appetizer for the main course to come. How big will the portions be?  How tasty? The anticipation is part of the pleasure. 

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