Tuesday, January 15, 2013

If this is January it must be Montana

I have often joked that we only do practice winter in New Mexico mountains. I have a smug attitude because I lived in Denver for longer than seemed wise. And then thought it might be glamorous to spend a winter in Vail. The last winter I spend in Denver it started snowing the week before Halloween and we did not see our curbs or sidewalks until late in May.

My winter in Vail I put the chains on the Pinto upon my arrival in early November and left them on until my departure in late April. Let me mention I needed them on until I got to Leadville headed south when I fled.

Winter can become a bit of a marathon. And those that endure it begin to take  pride in survival. Talk in the bars are about gaining control just before you went off the pass, or how long it took you to dig out of the snow drift you didn't see in the white out. I have stories of being snowed in at Winter Park, of going over the pass with 200 avalanches reported behind me, and of skiing powder snow that was deeper than I am tall.

But this winter has not been fun even in New Mexico. Our average temps are 20 to 30 degrees lower than normal. That means that nights have been as low as -36. And for the first time I had to deal with frozen pipes. The flaps are freezing off the doggie doors and I am waiting until 10 or noon for the temperature to be 10 above to start the car. And for all that we have not gotten much snow lending proof to the old tale that it can be too cold to snow. We need the moisture but we are not getting it. We are becoming freeze dried.

We normally get a warming trend in January. What us locals call the January thaw. And we are today half through January and have hardly seen a day time temp over freezing. I have gone through a cord and half of firewood in a month. I do not want to see next month's heating bill. This is the type of weather I expect of Montana. Snow has been horizontal and not vertical and it doesn't melt - just wears out from blowing around.

I keep telling myself it has to warm up. I am beginning to doubt it, however. It does make ice cubes extraneous.


  1. i don't envy you one bit. That sounds like a song about Saskatchewan in the thirties. "we're sitting here with frozen toes and wonder why it never snows.." You are tough!

  2. I am so glad it is you and not me Jacqui. We are in our summer here now and it has been real nice for a change.


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