Winter is suddenly over.
There are three kinds of people. There are people who hate snow and never want to see another white flake, ever. There are people who like snow, but only a couple months of it, then want it to go away. And there are people who love snow and are sad when winter is over.
There are probably only five people who fall into the third category, me included. The other four people who feel that way are afraid to admit it publicly.
Most New Englanders say they love the four seasons and that they could not live somewhere without four distinct seasons. I used to say that sort of thing when I was younger, but then I realized, I really only like true winter with lots of snow and true summer with lots of time to read in a hammock and paddle on the lake. Yes, fall foliage is beautiful and the crisp apples and fall mornings are great too. And spring with everything blooming, yes, that is lovely. But I could live happily with six months of winter and six months of summer. Or, I could take one year of winter and one year of summer. I would be fine.
No matter what, winter ends so suddenly for me. One day, I wake up and the snow is gone in town. The next day, ski areas are closed. Then, I have to figure out what happens next: a little too mushy and muddy for mountain biking or hiking; a little too chilly for lake kayaking or sailing my little Sunfish; perfect for jogging and yoga, but, that is just jogging and yoga. Questions come up. Should I throw on some wax and store my skis till next winter? Or, maybe I will climb Tuckerman’s in a couple weeks? It’s a perplexing time. Skiers who love to play golf have a much easier transition.
I used to start my mourning for winter sooner, late March, when my ski buddy Johnny Metzger would leave Killington and start working his prep cook job on Lake Sunapee. It was the first sign for me that winter would soon end. Forget the traditional signs of spring like the hardy little flowers called snowdrops that can push their way through a covering of snow, or, when the red-winged blackbird returns to our area. For me, as soon as Johnny Metzger started talking about leaving for his off-season job, I would start suffering from an abnormal type of seasonal affective disorder.
Having said all that, there is still some skiing. But it is getting close to the final end. Johnny Metzger is back at work. The small areas are closed. Killington, The Beast of the East that used to stay open sometimes through June, is closing this weekend. It’s not over–over, but it is almost–over. And, once again, it’s ended too soon.
Spring skiing is bittersweeet. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, tight zipper lines and corn snow, deck parties – all wonderful and fun. But then, boom — nothing. Unless I go to Chile.
Until the “boom — nothing” happens, there is still some hope for the four of you out there who are part of the third category of people who love snow and are sad when it is over. Check out snocountry, and ski a little more. 15 mountains in New England are open this weekend.