January Thaw

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Around this time last year, despite my love of skiing, I thought it would be so much easier to forget that I’d ever skied and devote my winters to playing ice hockey. My hockey equipment is much cheaper than my ski equipment, and it only costs $4 and takes five minutes to get my skates tuned. Compare that with $30 and a next-day pick-up for most ski tunes.

You might think that I’m starting the “skiing is too expensive” argument. I’m not. And to follow up on my tuning analogy, ski tunes should cost more and take more time simply because there’s a much longer edge (in fact, four ski edges compared with two skate edges).

The reason I sometimes consider giving up skiing is avoidance of the emotional roller coaster I ride each winter in New England. If you ski or ride, or even snowmobile, for that matter, you probably know what I’m getting at, and you probably know why I’m mentioning it now: the dreaded January Thaw.

Last year was much worse, because the season started off so slowly, and around this time we were still waiting for natural snow. Thankfully, this year was much different, and the mountains and most of the little towns in New England that I’ve passed through have been blessed by the snow gods. Of course, that is, until last Saturday, when the temperatures started rising. Yuck.

I guess I’ve admitted before that I’m superstitious when it comes to snowfall. I’m convinced that the people who say how much they hate snow, or grumble when they see it, spread bad karma, and we end up with these January thaws. I shouldn’t admit that, because it makes me sound a little kooky and because it might encourage more naysayers to badmouth the white fluffy stuff. In any case, I was happy to hear that the folks who’d been my next-door neighbors growing up finally moved to Georgia — not because they weren’t delightful people, but because they didn’t like snow. I always thought they should be banished to Florida, but Georgia’s fine by me.

Having said all that, I’m still going skiing this weekend. With last weekend’s blissful skiing fun still fresh in my mind, how could I not go? Or maybe the truth is that I’m a New England ski girl at heart, and with that comes the euphoria of ankle-deep powder and the despair of brown puddles mixed with dirty snow.

It seems there’s some hope for a cooling trend: The Skiing Weatherman’s Latest


Read more New England Ski tips from Heather Atwell.

  • As a new comer to New England, I can say that I’ve not experienced this much snow, ever! And, it’s only the beginning of the season. But, I’ve been told by some Co-workers that this season has been hand picked and delivered especially for me, Ha Ha! Thank goodness I had the wherewithal to get the appropriate vehicle (with 4-wheel drive) and a brand new shovel. Don’t get me wrong, I love the winter and the snow is quite lovely, but it has proven to be quite an adjustment.

    I enjoyed your blog and will keep praying to the dancing God’s of the snowflakes for the powdery stuff to continue. Happy Skiing!!!

  • Well tomorrow I’m going to strap my snowshoes on and explore Salem woods… Now if I can only navigate the snow bank to get to the path…

  • Some people say “Carpe Skiem” rather than “Carpe Diem.” You’re right, Mel. Ya gotta ski when the skiing is good. Like I said, there is hope with some colder temps for next week.

  • It is nearly midnight and I should have gone to sleep long ago…but what am I doing? Searching all the northern NE web sites for their snow conditions, hoping somehow, someway I’d findfa miracle happening in some pocket of New England. Before my two sons head back to college I was so looking forward to going on a ski trip, a taste of days gone by when they were young and we went everywhere it seems. When we had the abundance of snow, they were gone, studying, then when they first came home they just wanted to take it easy after the finals—now I fear we have waited too long. The lesson learned–when the deep snow is here, go for it. New snow is one of the gifts New England gives us, and gone are the days when we can take it for granted.


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