It snowed this week. Last year's first significant dump of snow in our woods happened in December, seems we're about three weeks ahead of snow schedule this year.
It always snows earlier in the "mountain" mountains where we hike and ski. I'm happy the snow is accumulating already in the mountains. We have a Christmas break backcountry ski trip planned with good friends.
It will be our first backcountry ski trip since moving here. The mountains of the Gaspe Peninsula - the Chic Chocs - are really popular for backcountry skiing. The Chic Chocs boast a lot of snow in the winter and there are huts for rustic accommodation.
As for snow at home, I'm more ambivalent. Canadians love to kvetch about the snow. A completely useless past time, if you ask me, but one that unites a very diverse population of people, and for that reason alone I see a small measure of value in such a hobby.
When it comes to grumbling about snow I am outnumbered in my family. I am the only member of my family who does not embrace each and every snowflake with exaltation. I like snow more than the average Canadian, mostly because I don't have to commute and we have lots of fun in the snow, but living with snow until mid April gets old. And I can't help but carry memories of "when will this winter end?" into the first early snowfall of the season.
Last year we wanted snow and lots of it in our own backyard. The sooner the better. We live at a ski hill and last year we purchased a family pass so we could have unlimited access to the ski hill all season.
We skied every week, two or three times a week (more for Damien who "skins" up the mountain on off days and then skis down before starting his work day). I learned to telemark. That was actually pretty amazing. We live in a small community, and the ski hill crowd is smaller still. I am "the beginner telemark woman" on the hill, no doubt, in my style and form, but I ended the season better than I started. I'm proud of this.
This year however, there is no family ski pass dangling off our jackets. The AT is pretty much "sucking up" all available resources and we simply can't spend the money on a season's pass this winter.
And so an early snow feels a bit like Murphy's Law. I'm wondering if this will be one of the best snow seasons, the year we live at the ski hill but don't have a pass.
We're not getting a pass but we are preparing for ski season, in the mountains, backcountry style. We saw our first mountain ski movie of the season this past week, Into the Mind, hosted by the local Centre d'Avalanche. We didn't like this movie as much as All.I.Can (for the record). But it does get us in a "mountain skiing" frame of mind.
I smiled this week when I got a comment from someone with happy autumn written in greeting. Autumn on the calendar yes. But winter has arrived in my backyard, time to get ready for it.