The Back Door Exit of Winter

It’s mid-February as I write this, and I’m counting the days until warmer temperatures arrive. But back in October, I was one of the people who were looking forward to that first big snow. Anticipation even from me, a non-skier!

Yes, I’m one of the few who don’t tune skis and check bindings three times in anticipation of the first big dump. I have tried skiing a half a dozen times—and visited the hospital twice. First I came out with crunches; the next time, I came out with an arm sling for a separated shoulder. Coming down the slope, my state of mind was comparable to that a semi-truck driver looking for the runaway ramp.

Thus, I look forward to warmer weather, polishing my golf clubs or going through my fly box rearranging my dry fly and nymph selections endless times.

Still, I welcome deep snow. The storms that come from December through February set the tone for winter sports and the local economy. This winter, we went through a spell of 5- to 15-degree nights, with day temperatures never reaching more than 25 degrees. The sun couldn’t peak through, even briefly. Even my ski friends began to complain!

About the time you think you are going to lose your mind, the sun shines brightly and the temperature hits 40 degrees. You unzip your heavy coat and even think about leaving it in the car. We all know that this is a false start to spring, but it does wonders for us mentally. And we know what it means—that soon, the roads will turn sloppy with melting snow.

By the time you will be reading this, it will have started. The joy of Mud Season! A time when the tourists have gone, leaving the slopes to locals and the shops filled with sales. The price we pay for these benefits? The roadways are filled with slop, their shoulders caked with dirty snow. No matter! We have learned to buy our windshield solution in 55-gallon barrels.

As we enter March, my thoughts turn to building elevated planting beds and the landscaping changes I have planned. And then there’s golf—as long as you don’t mind the snowdrifts that have accumulated in the sand traps.

Oh the joys of early spring in the Rockies! I love knowing that winter is finally creeping out the back door—that is, of course, unless a March blizzard is blowing in through the front!