Do you remember Smila who had a “Sense of Snow?” I loved the book and movie about her, and the way she could interpert subtle changes in the snowy region where she lived, that other people couldn’t see or understand.
I unlike Smila, can make no sense of snow.
My fear comes from growing up in Southern California where there is no snow worth speaking about, and traveling regularly to ski various mountains since I was young. Mammoth in the Sierras has more snow than many high mountain ranges.
There is more snow averaged over the years in Mammoth than the Rocky Mountains. Here is the snow looking out the SECOND FLOOR kitchen window in our rented condo unit today.
Here is the snow resting against our second floor balcony’s sliding glass window. This is a moderate amount of snow for Mammoth in that we have not yet reached 300 inches. In seven winters over the past 45 years, Mammoth has received well over 500 inches of snow, and up to 668! Mammoth averages over 300 inches each year. The snowiest European Alps on average get approximately 380-400 inches of snow, while Andermatt in Switzerland gets around 480 inches a year.
Here is the ski route out from our condo to the lifts. I get intimidated with snow because unlike Smila, there are a lot of things I don’t know about it, like how to build a snow cave to survive overnight when I get lost on the come-back trail after the lifts close. I often get lost on the come-back trail as the sun starts to set. Once, years ago, I got lost and didn’t find my way back till well after dark.
I have always skied with guys, first my brother, than boyfriends, husband, son, friends of them, and so on. They always ski better than I do and I focus on keeping up and not breaking my bones. When we are on summits, with whipping winds blowing freezing snow-needles into our faces and practically zero visibility, they get strangely hyped up.
“Awesome,” they say.
“Shit,” I think.
“I can’t see anything and I know it’s steep. I’m dumping them after this run and going alone.”
I do this, and then I get lost on the come-back trail.
Skiing with young guys is particularly fun. “No black diamond runs unless you ask me before.” I emphasize.
“No problem,” they say.
We get down a particularly nasty run and I say, “That was horrible. I don’t ever want to do that again.”
“Look at the bright side,” they say, “You just did another black diamond.”
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
I clearly am not as brave as Eleanore Roosevelt. I don’t want to do something scary everyday. Once a year is quite enough for me, thank you Eleanore!
Cheers to you from the stunning, snowy, and sometimes scary Sierras~