Snowmegadon or snowpocalypse, whichever term used to describe last week’s unexpected and unprecedented dump belies the sentiments of most kids who reveled the official snow day closure and late starts. Contrary to the doomsday scenarios common from other notable natural forces like fires and floods, a big snowfall brings a certain amount joy. A form of relief falls over the land. A quiet and brief pause.
Then of course, come the snow-clearing activities that seem hectic, occupying the entire day. The path shoveling, walkway blowing, and the roof scraping. Moving snow piles from one place to the next to make room for the next pile of snow turns into laments that echo, “but I already cleared that area, and you just piled more snow there!” No need to hit the gym today, I shoveled snow for three hours. A sense of accomplishment washes over everyone as the day ends. Tunnels and caves, mounds and hummocks occupy the yard in a transformed wintry world.
Last week’s successive snowfalls finally made possible the long-anticipated opening of the Loup Loup Ski Bowl. The excitement spread faster than Omicron as Wednesday’s opening day had full chairs of skiers. Then more snow fell, and the Loup can now be reliably open. Yay!
While the recent snowfall does leave us with happy wintery spirits, it also brings dangers. Fourteen years ago, a Mazama man was killed while fetching wood when his shed collapsed under the weight of the snow. Neighbors worked tirelessly to dig him out of the debris but were unable to revive him. This tragedy along with inevitable avalanches, pass closures and car wrecks taints the beauty of the snow and underscores how important it is to be aware, be prepared, and practice snow sense.
With the warming temperatures approaching, roofs will begin to slide. Newcomers to the valley should heed caution when letting kids play outside near homes where roof avalanches can occur. Natural slides also can happen even in the lower valley, especially on the dry, cold, unconsolidated base that the recent snow rests upon. Here in Twisp, a noticeable slide can be seen on Mill Hill, just south of the lit-up cross.
There’s a visibly growing community of winter runners and joggers. I too love winter jogging and appreciate the Town of Twisp snow-blowing the sidewalks along the major roads, thanks Lori Rodio! But outside the major roads, it’s homeowners and businesses who have the responsibility to clear snow from the sidewalks. So please, do your part to clear the sidewalk so that pedestrians can avoid walking and running on slick roads in traffic as much as possible.
Of course, most winter running takes place on roadways. In this case, runners should be extra cautious by wearing visible clothing and moving against traffic. If you venture out at night, you must wear lights on your front and back, and travel opposite the direction of traffic. A note on earphones — make sure you have them set at a level you can hear approaching cars. It’s for your safety and for the sanity of the driver. No one wants to drive for miles behind a jogger who’s oblivious of the car behind them. Be safe, be smart, and enjoy the snow while it lasts!