Man what a goofy January. The weather has been great for getting caught up with seasonal totals of snow at the ski hill and in the mountains in general. Snow pack totals were way up at around 150-160% of normal simply because it kept snowing (see our last post).
And then the weather changed. It was like we were back in Brooks and a snow eating Chinook wind was blowing through. Temperatures rose, everything started to melt, and to add to the mess, it started to rain. The huge piles of snow in our yard and on the streets quickly began to change to slush. Puddles formed everywhere as snow covered street drains were blocked and just when you thought it was over, the freezing level rose and double digit temperatures were recorded locally. Nice warm breeze, light jacket, dry pavement to drive on, glorious sunny skies — then, overnight it froze.
Our regular Monday skiing didn’t last long. Very firm snow after a day and half of freezing and very noisy skiing as skiers worked to get their edges into the snow.
Today, it seems that the whole process is beginning to repeat — the snow is falling and is forecast for the remainder of the week.
I like to shovel snow. We never had a lot to shovel when we lived in Alberta and it was almost always light, fluffy stuff that was low in moisture content but high in ‘blowability’. The smallest of breezes would move the snow from its resting place back onto the sidewalk or would form a drift across the street that cars would have to drive through — our town only had one snow plow and the blade was alway in like new condition as it never touched the pavement anywhere except the street in front of city hall.
Winter certainly has been a mixed bag here in Trail so far. Optimistic snowfalls that got the skiers excited turned to warm rainfall and delayed the ski season opening. The usual Christmas boom turned to a bust as the local hill struggled to open runs for the droves of vacationers counting on snow. Most of that is now forgotten as the snowy weather has returned and it just keeps falling. Even down here in the valley bottom, snowplows are having a tough time keeping up and having a tough time finding room to move it to. Gone are the days of multiple shifts of snow removal crews working through the night or on weekends to haul away piles of snow. Streets get plowed and soon get narrower as the snow banks get bigger.
Skiing has benefited from the increased snowfall and the newly opened Topping Creek lift and ski runs are a great addition to the already huge amount of ski terrain. Some great ski runs without having to go all the way to the top of Granite or Grey to access them which saves at least 30 minutes of riding lifts to the top.