Saturday, February 21, 2015

Storm Cycle

Well here in my small corner of Montana we have been having an unusually warm and dry start to 2015. For those of us who enjoy the gravity of the winter its been a little rough. 

So what to do? Weather is a fickle thing, people involved in snow sports have all sorts of superstitions about how to get it to snow. Wandering around a ski town in the grips of a drought you will even hear the cashier at the gas stations say "pray for snow", or "Do your snow Dance". Here in town we had prayed, we danced, we skied rotten slush full of pine needles and rocks. Nothing was working.

I decided that building a snow grotto might do the trick.

I started with all the little cut ends sitting around the shop, scraps recycled from other projects.
Walnut, pine, and oak... With a can roof to shelter all the hopes and dreams of powder days yet to come. When it was all finished i loaded it up on my pack, slipped on my skis and up the skin track we went.

I skied past big rocks and downed trees.
Through long snowy hallways in the woods.

Until I found just the right spot.

A little set up work, some incense for good measure and a few quick mumblings about the need for snow and back onto the skin track i went.

After leaving the woods and returning to the ski area i couldn't help but think how the clouds looked a little more menacing. 

Mount Maurice was under overcast as the sun slipped away.

Finally summiting, the sun pushing its last light into the hills i sipped my tea an watched the Beartooths disappear into the snowy darkness.

Did it snow? Did the little grotto in the woods do anything? 

It did snow, 20"+. It was the kind of snow that chokes the unsuspecting. The two powder days following the storm were some of the best. 

Even if the little grotto did nothing but distract me from our crummy weather until the storm cycle returned i think it did its job.

So if you come across it or another like it stop and think about those powder days in your dreams, say some words and keep doing your snow dance.


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