Earlier this week, I flicked open my computer to read the latest headlines. What I found had me shaking my head. Mid-August, and here come the snow reports.
If I’m to believe what I read, there’s going to be “freezing cold and average snowfall” in the Heartland. The Northeast will be ice cold and snowy. And Florida? “Penetrating cold and very wet” in case you’re a snowbird.
And so begins a winter of hyperbolic headlines, all screaming for you to click to a forecast of dubious accuracy. The above image from the Farmers’ Alamanac has already been shared all across the ski-sphere. Not surprisingly, the image below from the competing Old Farmer’s Almanac has been trumpeted less enthusiastically:
So, which one’s right? Hindsight will be 20-20, but check out which post got the most shares.
In August, these forecasts feel a little questionable. So I’m going to go ahead and make my own prediction for winter 2016. There is a 100-percent chance of hyperbolic headlines, screaming FEET OF SNOW!!! for the foreseeable future.
Storm to dump up to 3 feet of snow in 3 days for Tahoe region
Huge Snow Storms Forecasted for the West; Get Your Gear Ready
Epic Headlines, Inaccurate Forecasts To Flummox Skiers, Drivers
I made that last one up. But you can bet it’s going to happen, and soon.
Facebook will light up with the “news” that SUMMIT COUNTY WILL BE COVERED BY FEET OF SNOW!!! Your friends will share the news. People you don’t know will comment with excitement.
How else would The Old Farmer’s Almanac (and Farmers’ Almanac) get so much free press in the ski media each fall, year after year?
We’ve all heard the old saying that meteorology is the only profession in which you can be wrong most of the time and still keep your job. So we as skiers and snowboarders give all these predictions a free pass, and click the link, and feel a little shiver of anticipation for that first big snowfall.
But you know what? I’ll click, too.
Skiers and snowboarders are eternal optimists. As the green leaves of summer ripen to fire gold, we dream of that first rim of frost glistening on a still-yellow aspen leaf. As autumn’s clouds portend winter with a dark boil, we will cross our fingers, do a little snow dance, and dream of white blankets of powder.
As Peter Kray writes in The God Of Skiing:
“In the fall I began to dream of wings. When the trees lose their leaves and the sky goes big and bare and all the short golden days glow with a halo in the tilting light of the sun. In high school I would watch the snow start down the mountains like a line of demarcation; St. Augustine so obvious with his other city in the air, gleaming with the promise of starch white flawless forever and all those memories on the wind.”
And so our stoke will grow with each passing headline, each incredible forecast. We’ll wax our skis in garages that reek of wax smoldering on cheap old irons. We’ll raise beery glasses to toast the winter and snow and bottomless powder.
Hyperbole or not, we’ll share those Facebook posts. Our pulses will quicken. We’ll tag friends. We’ll eye our skis with longing.
And you know what? The stoke will be real. Can you feel it?