But all this is changing, even over the short amount of time I've lived here. We now seem to have no guarantee of skiable snow in the mountains for much of the ski season. As evidence, here are photos of US 26 at Govy from today:
I can see why people have taken to snow-shoeing. When there is so little snow, and its condition so quickly deteriorated, the ease of use and reliable footing of shoes makes travel easier. There is little benefit from the increased speed or flotation of skis when there is only six inches of rain crust on frozen ground.
Even worse, for budding skiers, there are few days when the snow isn't iced up, rained on, snow-shoed over. It can be difficult to learn in those conditions, because braking and turning are more difficult and unpredictable. Breaking over the frustration barrier can be hard for beginners on skis even when conditions are great. Imagine the challenge of doing so when those conditions only happen a few times a year.
For myself, I've taken up the downhill side of the sport. At the higher elevations of our local resorts, it's still possible to find snow. Mind you, it's not always pretty. Here are photos of sodden skiers enjoying a
At least there's some snow, right?
Of course, the changing climate's impact to our region's way of life goes far beyond my favorite form of imported northern European winter recreation. With less snow and more rain, we can no longer rely on snow-melt for summer rivers, or lingering snow and moisture for protection from forest fires.
Skiers may be more aware and worried about climate change, because it affects them personally, but the cost to our society as a whole is far greater. This reality is so obvious, and the solutions so equally obvious, that I feel endless frustration with our government's response. Half of our politicians don't even acknowledge that the climate is changing, much less that we have caused the change and should seek to stop it. In the future, we will look back on this period of time and rue our inaction.