There are exactly 9 inches of snow in my yard. I know because I took a tape measure outside this morning and I checked. Yesterday morning there was none.
Three days after I post a call for snow, it has been answered! I have never seen a season’s switch flipped so abruptly or so beautifully. After seeing Facebook posts of friends skiing at Targhee, my whole household texted anyone we knew who had been up to see what the conditions were. Was it soft? Were there rocks? How deep was it? Everything made it sound skiable, so we packed up the Explorer with 3 sets of skiing equipment, 1 snowboard, 3 dogs, and 4 people, and headed up the hill.
It was perfect! Conditions were far better than opening day last year, and it was still snowing the entire time. If this storm continues to dump for the rest of the week, we are going to have a really solid base for the rest of the season. Because the resort and lifts aren’t open yet, Targhee is technically US Forest Service land – which means that dogs are allowed anywhere. Tagg and the others flew up the mountain, barreling through chest-deep snow. We all followed the skin track up a south-facing bowl, relatively safe from the wind, until we hit the high reaches of the headwall trail. After switching from walk to ski modes, packing up our skins, and downing a beer we took off down the south face of the ridge, through the trees, and tried to remember how to ski. My turns felt good – in decent form at least. My legs were another story; there is no form of summer fitness that can really prepare you for skiing and I definitely need to start slow so I don’t hurt myself!
We returned to our cabin in the afternoon, started a fire in the woodstove, and stayed there all night. It seems like a paradox, but winter is the more social season for our house. We have shrink wrapped all the windows in the house and put up blankets that close off our bigger living room from the room with the woodstove, so everyone ends up around the fire because the rest of the house is too cold! We all watched movies, Tootsie worked on a puzzle, I crocheted pieces for a blanket I’m working on, Ben tied flies, and the dogs fell into the deep sleep that only comes after a day of running through deep snow.
I’m still waiting for my first look at the Tetons covered in snow. They remain shrouded in clouds, with only high lenticular formations to give away the positions of those immense granite peaks.