Friday, December 31, 2010

White December in Missoula

December has been a good month for Missoula, that is if you enjoy the cold and snow. I'm fresh off a powder bender, with over 2 feet of new snow this week at Snowbowl (15" day & 10" day). Being a skier and winter lover in the north country makes life more enjoyable. When the valley murk, gray and mist get me down, my mind is refreshed on the chairlift as fat flakes fall in my lap.

Wednesday was the classic storm skiing day that I have come to love. The trees allow you to see better when visibility drops, snow also tends to collect there. It sounds cheesy, but it's as if time stand still as the flakes pile up in the quiet shadows of the forest. I had the opportunity for thigh deep first tracks on one of my favorite runs. That same run called my name 4 more times, fabulous.

The day started off with valley rain falling most of the night. As I peeked at the mountains off and on through the night, darkness cloaked everything above the valley floor. The news channels were abuzz with winter storms warnings, you could feel the skiers stirring in their houses. Missoula skiers weren't fooled by the wet valley floor. Even before 9am, the lift line morphed into swollen monstrosity of an excited tentacled beast. I'd argue it's hard to find a happier bunch of people. Especially when Snowbowl's base is 48" and the summit has 78". That has to be one of the better starts to a winter in a long time. Does anyone remember what the base was during the big winter of 96-97 was?

Geeking out on the NOAA weather data, I gathered up a few stats. I had been curious as it seems that we've in the proverbial freezer (relative for Missoula) since Mid November.
  • first snowfall, 3" on Nov. 22 and the snow has not melted since. Total of 10" for Nov.
  • The thermometer did not crack 30deg for the last 11 days of the month.
  • December hasn't warmed much either; Avg of 29 degrees with 13" of snowfall.
The twins are adapting well and are now comfortable getting their snowsuits on playing or riding their bikes on the patio in 10 degree temps. We've stomped around the yard in their skis and shredded our snowbanks multiple times. They've come to terms with mittens and their associated lack of dexterity. We're all excited to share some family time at the ski hill. In the meantime we actually skied our friends backyard, they had a blast. A few snow angels and some hot cocoa, time well spent.

We found our new favorite sled hill in Missoula, the girls and I enjoyed some a luge track filled powder. They didn't think twice about enjoying the playground swings and slide despite the 20 degrees and snow falling. Check out Gwynn's version of a face shot.

I thought I'd leave off with a few shots of classic Montana stuff. Things that remind me of why I live here. Happy New Year to all, let it be as successful and joy filled as the last.

Smiles on the skin track

Firing up the old smokester for the first time this season

Eat it Soccer Moms!

Just another day in paradise

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