This post was originally published February 17, 2011
Farmers, birdwatchers and skiers share a certain preoccupation with the weather. I write this with rare authority: my mother raises horses, I have a degree in ornithology and I ski now and again. My mother still opens every conversation during haying season with the forecast, even though I live 3,000 miles away. Birders will call in sick, board a plane and fly 3,000 miles if a particular type of high pressure front suggests rare migratory birds might get blown off course and land somewhere unusual. And most of the skiers I know check a series of ski area weather reports each morning with a religious devotion that my Italian great grandmother committed to morning mass.
The weather people (Cliff Mass, UW Professor of Meteorology is my favorite) predicted great things for us this year. The birth of another La Niña year would most likely result in huge dumps of snow due to increased precipitation. Skiers and snowboarders across the Northwest went racing to the hills in November, confident the early snowfall indicated the snow was here to stay. We wanted a return of ’98 so badly, we skipped right on past the fine print from Dr. Mass and others, that little bit at the bottom that read “…may also result in unseasonably warm temperatures.”
Our Friday bus stop conversations sounded an awful lot like a gaggle of farmers stopping at the village store for their coffee during a rain-filled summer. “Weather could be good for Sunday.” “I don’t know, if it pours like last week I won’t be heading out.” “I sense a break in the clouds this weekend.”
Even deep into January, we refused to believe that this year might fail to produce the snow of the century. But if we had received the crazy snow we’ve all been dreaming about since October, we may well have greeted this week’s accumulation with a ho-hum attitude, blasé about the back-to-back-back fresh snow days.
Instead, we’re thrilled to call this week awesome. Each day the Crystal Powder Alert greets me with good news. How good? http://www.Skiinfo.com ranks Crystal’s seven day accumulation of 67 cm (26 in) 5th among U.S. ski resorts and 13th most in the world! So I suggest we take this opportunity to live in the moment and stop fretting about the winter that could have been.
However, if you have any insight into next week’s weather? Well then I’m all ears.