Welcome Back Snow!

Smugglers Notch, Vermont

We drove up to Vermont this past Friday to visit Dan and Alice. They are long-time friends—I’ve known Dan since high school. It started raining when we got to Killington area, then continued the rest of the day. And through the night.

Saturday morning dawned grey, but with patches of blue breaking through. By late morning it was a beautiful, classic Vermont October day. Sunny and brisk with temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s.

Dan and Alice live up by Sugarbush. We all went out for a morning hike to stretch our legs and tire the dogs. Low and behold, way up on the tall peaks the landscape was capped with a coating of white. Later, in the car, we spied snow atop Camel’s Hump and other high peaks we didn’t know the names of. We didn’t get as far north as Stowe, but Alice sent me a photo from a friend who lives up by Smuggs. That’s the view above.

On our drive home Sunday we got glimpses of Pico and Killington peaks from Route 100. We saw ski trails carved among the trees graced with white. Okemo showed only a few ragged remnants of white scattered in shady areas. Either the snow didn’t happen or it melted. We had temperatures Sunday morning at 30 degree by Sugarbush and Mad River, but well into the 40s in Ludlow.

No, it wasn’t a skiable snowfall. Even if it was I didn’t have my ski gear with me anyway. And if I did the mountains aren’t open for over zealous skiers and riders. But it was heartening, and exciting, to see white atop the lovely hills of Vermont.

I could wax poetic about the juxtaposition of brilliant fall colors and the stark white of the high peaks. But I won’t. All I really saw was the beautiful white snow and the slideshow playing in my head of skiing past and skiing to come.

While the visit north with Dan and Alice was meant to be chill and to help clear heads of Zoom meetings, work day pressures, and the rest of the mental clutter associated with our lives in pandemic days, it did more than that for me.

The very sight of snow on the mountains stirred a restlessness somewhere deep inside. A smile came. Happy thoughts arrived. My mind darted deep into my memory and drew forth the feel and smell of frozen air breathed in, the dull sound of the thunk of ski lifts running over the towers, the crisp click of edges on crust, the soft shush of skis cutting a turn, the muted whoops and laughs from deep in the trees.

I always return refreshed and rejuvenated after a visit up to see Dan and Alice and pile of dogs and cats that make up their household. But this trip, with sightings of snow, left me not only refreshed and rejuvenated, but hopeful. Hopeful that despite all the other uncertainties of the moment, the air will chill and snow will fall. The freedom and release of pointing a pair of sticks downhill and playing with gravity will indeed be here again. And soon.

Thank you Dan. And Alice. Of course, Thank You Vermont.