Thursday, April 15, 2010

Six months people, six months

In Alaska we have six months of winter, there is no getting around it. I didn't fully understand what that meant before I moved here, but it is part of what I love about living here. If you love winter, six months seems just long enough to get in everything you want to do without wearing on you.

But then April comes, which is still very much part of winter, if you consider that it started mid October. And we think SPRING IS HERE, because most of us have come from other states, that are not so close to the Arctic Circle, where spring comes as early as March, and we are fooled yet again. We also think back to that one or two years where spring did come early April.

It snows in Anchorage in April. Most years. Despite all of the talk about how weird this weather is. It's normal.

Wednesday I woke up... wait actually let's go back farther than that. Tuesday I woke up and said, "Wow! The snow is really melting fast! It's almost gone from our back yard." Because even a true winter lover can be seduced by the warm sun, the sight of GREEN GRASS, and the idea that maybe today I won't have to scrape ice off my windshield.

Wednesday morning comes and I take a shower, get dressed, feed the dog, get my stuff ready, and THEN I look out the window (because why would I need to check the weather, it's spring right?). And I see that it had snowed at least 8 inches over night and was still coming down heavily. It continued to snow all day and night.

But, I have learned to take the weather in Alaska in stride. Fighting the weather is the most unproductive thing you can do. So when it snows A TON mid April, I play in it. I don't complain. And I am comforted knowing I can get a least one more winter play day in.

Today I skied up to Peak 3 (behind flattop) with my friend Craig, who is a really good skier that used to be an instructor, but fairly new to backcountry skiing. I was a little worried about finding the way up there, because I hadn't been back there in the winter in about 3 years and invited Craig. I didn't want his second or third exposure to backcountry skiing to be lame. We found the gully we wanted to ski pretty easily though and made our way up.

It was a great day out despite the fact that the wind was blowing hard and causing whiteout conditions as we ate lunch at the top of the gully. Niko was happy to play with another dog all day, Jasper, Craig's giant German Shepard. But even the dogs were getting cold as we got ready to head down.

(Craig messing with Jasper)

The new skis are awesome! I can't put it any other way.

About two weeks ago, when I was struggling in chopped up heavy Chugach powder at Alyeska, I considered giving up on skiing entirely. I made a conscious choice at the beginning of this season to make it one of my goals to become a better skier before winter ended. So when I was nearing the end of the season and not getting any better, I thought, well, maybe I'm just not a skier.

But today I felt like a skier. It was so easy to turn, so easy to let go and go fast down the steep slope, but still feel in control. It was even easy to navigate through the trees and bushes at the bottom at high speeds, which I never do.

I think I'll give skiing another chance. And winter, if you care at all, know that at least one person in Anchorage still welcomes you.

1 comment:

Notorious T said...

Good post. Reminded me of a quote I just read from a guy from Hong Kong who is stuck in Europe while all the flights are grounded: "Never complain. You can't do anything about it."

I think the key to staying sane in April is to go with the flow, just like you're doing.