Wasn't quite ready for this ~ The first snow

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.

snow on bird feeder

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.

wallking mt olivine trail

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.

parc de la gaspesie

mt olivine parc de la gaspesie

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.

snow in valley

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.

snow in woods

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.

snow trees

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.

snowy backyard

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.

snowy mountain

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.

mt olivine parc de la gaspesie

Damien Tougas and daughters mountain top

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.

15 November 13


It might still be ok to skin

It might still be ok to skin up and ski down - the mountains around here allow that - they call it "uphill ski travel" and it's understood you'll be doing it on off hours, staying clear of groomers and so forth.  And I'm sure you've got some backcountry planned, right?  In my view, there's no point to winter without snow!  So for me, the earlier the better, because I can get out and play in it.  Otherwise I'm holed up and grumpy!

The mountains just need snow

The mountains just need snow on them. At least, that's how I grew up. Our family took off for Denver, CO every Christmas, and then back again for summer off-roading/jeeping in those same mountains in the summer. My family weren't skiers, so I've only been skiing once (I felt very awkward) and snowboarding once (one of the worst weekends in memory). The mountains in the summer are fun, and I can be out there for hours, but mountains with snow are looming and majestic, and dangerous. They remind me of my smallness. 

I can understand the mid-April thing, that's very much Nebraska. Often we would say our two GOOD months (when it's not too humid + high temps) are May and October, the rest of the year it's extremes. Too hot for 4-5 months, too cold for at least 5. I never mind the cold, I mind the heat. It's unbearable. I can always put more layers on, and add more blankets, but I can't peel my skin off! :)

Sarah M

Snow is beautiful and I like

Snow is beautiful and I like to play in it, but I like living in an area where it doesn't accumulate outside my front door. I have to drive an hour to get to it, which is just about perfect in my opinion. When we lived in the UP, we had so much and it was CRAZY.

At my house we find ourselves

At my house we find ourselves saying "winter time weather in the spring" or "winter time weather in the fall" because we get winter in the spring and fall and winter too.  It can go on and on and on...  I don't feel ready for it this year, but its here.  My family loves it.  I did more before the days of helping with snowsuits. :)  But I am trying to be happy with winter and trying not to "fight" it. 

Just think how awesome April

Just think how awesome April in the Southern Appalachians is gonna be!  I've hiked for years on the AT in the springtime. There's nothing like it!  Fields in the Smokies so full of Spring Beauties it looks like snow, Trillium everywhere...sigh. I'm jealous. 

Looking forward to reading more hiking adventures...

That is a very long winter, I

That is a very long winter, I would have a hard time in the spring, but you're not missing much of a fall. At least where I am, the leaves and beautiful fall colors are gone and we're left with mostly muddy, cold, colorless and cloudy days. I'd take some early snow just to make the cold more bearable. I look for color everywhere we go (a bit of moss hidden under the leaves) to get me through the late fall blah's until the first real snowfall makes the world sparkle again. Your photos really are beautiful.

I hope you are able to get a few good ski days in this year. We only get one week each year, can't afford season passes or travel expenses to a resort, but it's enough to get us excited about winter.

I'm mixed about snow and long

I'm mixed about snow and long winters, I actually don't mind shoveling snow at all.  And I'm learning to embrace winter activities to keep me active and sane, like skiing.  When our first snowfall hit, I was outside on a hike with my kids in mid October, and there's nothing like that sound.  It's not the silent soft snow fall of December or gusty hits of a blizzard, it was as if the ground was laughing quiet tinkles as the flakes hit the dried autumn leaves.  I'll take those snow days, any day.  

Thanks for the tips on the backcountry movies, we watch those for fun as a family to inspire us :)

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