Countdown to Ski Season: 30 Days
30 days or one month or 720 hours. No matter how you break it down these are the facts that are between Big Sky Resort and the first day of skiing. Ski season is just moments away and just a few snowflakes away. I am writing to you as the snow falls outside my window here at Big Sky. The flakes are not huge, but are steady-hiding the view of Lone Peak and covering the ground with a sense of renewal. Falling 2-9 miles an hour, snowflakes are cruising down to earth for being so light and fluffy.
From an early age everyone learns that each snowflake is different than the one that fell before it. This is used as a metaphor for the uniqueness of each human life and to show the complexity of nature. The uniqueness of snow and snowflakes extend to its significance to mountain living and to ecosystems around the world. More than 180 billion molecules of water make up each snowflake and roughly 12 percent of the earth is covered in snow year round. As much as I love snow, I'm grateful for the annual spring run-off for a number of selfish reasons, but also because snowfall accounts for 70 percent of annual precipitation in the United States. Winter and snow mean more to me than being able to enjoy yet another powder day on Yellow Mule or to cozy up fireside with a book and a latte, it means life continues to exist wherever snow reaches. From the Gulf of Mexico to upstate New York, snow affects human life as it accumulates on our mountaintops and melts into our rivers. I find this comforting and beautiful. Snow is something I long for as an individual adventure seeker, and as a human being who is a part of mother earth.
I want to take time today to be thankful for the flakes that are falling. The beauty in a complex, yet simple-looking snowflake never ceases to amaze me.
"At first look it all seems like a geologic chaos, but there is method at work here, method of a fanatic order and perseverance: each groove in the rock leads to a natural channel of some kind, every channel to a ditch and gulch and ravine, each larger waterway to a canyon bottom or broad wash leading in turn to the Colorado River and the sea." -Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire