As lovers of winter, people of the snow, those that embrace the cold as a friend we haven’t seen in too long it is easy to understand why winter matters. The powder days, the fresh corduroy, the sting in your lungs and nip on your nose are the experiences we can’t live without. But winter matters in many ways that go beyond our enjoyment of the sports in which we take part. The necessity of snow does more than feed that part of us that would wither on the vine in an endless summer. The snowpack that we enjoy all winter is the life breath of so many parts of nature that we enjoy the rest of the season.
As a native Vermonter I am keenly aware of the maple sugaring industry and the negative effects of bare ground on sap production. There is such a thing as too much snow in the spring, but the effects of open ground are far worse.
When I lived in Montana I worked on a farm. I remember thinking we could keep watering the fields if there was snow on Mt. Blackmore. All that wonderful snow I enjoyed all winter was the marker for a great summer as well. I never did see that snow run out until late August, but I was also lucky to live in Bozeman during a string of fantastic winters.
I very recently visited Starvation Reservoir in Utah. I’m not much for dammed bodies of water, but this place is stunning. Sandy beaches, striking desert features sitting above Caribbean blue water. After a solid winter in Utah the reservoirs are back up making for a more enjoyable summer time experience.
Today I am looking across Park City through a smoky haze. Forest fires have sprouted up all over the west, including a few that are close to home. Dangerous conditions from a dry summer are finally catching up with many parts of the country, but a deep snowpack held off the worst of the fire season despite the lack of rain this summer.
So, while we are reveling in that perfect day on the snow we can all appreciate how winter makes our lives better year-round. I know I start to miss the snow this time of year, but knowing that it still has an impact on my life as I smother my pancakes in syrup makes me happy. Winter will get here when it’s ready, so for now let’s enjoy all the wonderful parts of summer that just wouldn’t be as amazing without that white gold that falls from the sky.