With flocks of snowboarders seeking the skate park or surf in pursuit of their usual winter adrenaline fix, it’s time to accept that something is amiss this winter. Unless you are a zombie, this is not hard to do for anyone visiting ski resorts in California, Colorado, Utah…and it’s easy to see if you look to unexpected victims like Bogus Basin, ID, which has lost an estimated $2 million with a record-late start of January 19.
I’m an avid skier, and since I live in the northeast I try to save some vacation time so I can get ski days (and hopefully powder days) out west. This year, of course, has been complicated by record bad years up and down the Rockies and throughout California.
Now anyone spending multiple days amid beautiful mountains (even if they are mostly snow barren) can’t ask for too much pity, and that’s not what this is about. This is about the no-snow winter afoot in 2011/2012, and how people are either dealing with it or denying it.
Right after New Year’s I visited Colorado and found strange things awaiting me. Vail’s famous Back Bowls were dirt and gravel, and there were places on the front side with the kind of ice you don’t normally see outside of the Northeast. In retrospect, I know see that my visit coincided with Vail commissioning snowdances from Southern Ute tribesman, which is apparently becoming a go-to-practice in this desperate winter.
After the disappointment at Vail we drove north in shirtsleeves, windows down, bound for Steamboat Springs. Nothing quite like a January springtime in the mountains.