Editorial: Snowed Under

Trent Ernst, Editor

Last week’s snowfall came at a terrible time. While I, for one, love a foot of fresh snow, hitting us right as things were really starting to warm up was a cruel trick, made the crueler by an extended cold spell and a forecast for more snow later in the week.

Historically, spring snowfalls have almost immediately been followed by a few nice days of sun, and the snow quickly dissolves, bringing us one step closer to spring.

I measure the onset of spring, I have written before, by signs, not by dates. The first day it starts to melt, the first night it doesn’t dip below freezing, the emergence of my driveway from under snow compacted to ice.

I have come up with a new metric in my determination of spring: where can I walk to without touching ice or snow? The buildings downtown have overhanging roofs, and it possible, even in the heart of winter, to walk from here to the Pharmacy without touching snow.

And as the blacktop emerges from under the white stuff, it becomes possible to pick my way from place to place without getting my feet wet. The purpose of this? None, really, save to amuse myself as I walk to the Community Centre or the Health Centre for an interview.

Over the last month, the real metric has become how much snow do I have to walk on between here and home? Just before it snowed last week, I was down to 200.

While the sidewalk outside work is shoveled, the parking lot was not, and a combination of snow buildup and shade meant the first step down onto the road was on snow, but, if I go over in front of Cascade, it was only the one step. From there to the bearwalk, the roads were snow and ice free. While a narrow strip of asphalt had emerged through most of the bearwalk, the section still mostly in the shade of the apartment building was mostly ice-covered which added 25 footfalls to the tally.

By walking on the road most of the way home, I was able to avoid the snow until I hit the park at the heart of Peace River Crescent, where the remaining steps on snow happened. Did I mention I am easily amused?

Now however, we’re back to stage 1, where I tally not the number of steps on snow, but the numbers of steps on dry land, as those will be far fewer.

I’m sure the Lions are looking nervously at the white stuff on the ground and the forecast and keeping their fingers crossed for the annual Easter egg hunt at the end of spring break. Whereas last year was one of the nicest Easters on record (also one of the latest, falling a week later than this year’s), this year could be one of the worst.

That said, Easter is still two weeks out (from the time I write this, at any rate). For now, parents will have to contend with their kids being out of school for the next two weeks, looking for ways to keep them occupied, or at least, out from underfoot.

In that respect, the snow may be a blessing, as a kid who falls in a snowbank is much easier to clean than one that falls in a mud puddle. And the snow means that the outdoor rink and sledding hill are both open for spring break activities.

So while I know that most people (save for the sledheads and the skiers) are not happy about the new snow, I say let’s make the best of it. While I agree that I would be more than happy to see the tail end of winter, Tumbler Ridge is really pretty with a foot of fresh powder; much nicer than with an inch of dirty ice. Get out there and play in the snow one last time (please, only this one last time) before it melts away and the world becomes mudluscious and puddlewonder.