We sit, one month into the new decade, perched on the fence of fate. Shall we drop to the inside and maintain the status quo, or do we venture forth into the unknown future with hopes that change will bring us good fortune and good times? I’m talking of course, about Groundhog day, February second, the day when spring with warmer temperatures and sunny days may or may not arrive to break the spell of winter’s chilly hold. Thus far into the 2019-2020 ski season we have endured consistently cooler temperatures and regular precipitation that has left our streets snow-packed and trails in good condition for sliding quietly through the woods.
This past week reminded us that once upon a time, there was a phenomenon called the January Thaw that somewhat reliably would relieve us of the deep freeze, often in the 3rd week of the month. We did see warmer temps during the 3rd week of 2020, at least relative to what they have been, but not so warm as to deteriorate or quicken trail conditions. Now we move on to the day of decision, not determined by mortals, but by the presence or absence of the life-sustaining rays of the star we call the sun, casting its beams upon this otherwise cold rock of a planet to bestow us with the determination… six more weeks of winter? or the arrival of spring! Will the big hairy marmot see his shadow and retreat back to his burrow for the continuation of the big chill? Or will he (or she) strain to make out definition of the snow surface in the flat light of overcast skies, foretelling of warmer times soon to be upon us?
Hard to believe that spring could already be here, as it seems January, the deepest of winter months has only just arrived. It is also hard to imagine that we could see a significant change from the pattern that has been so consistent, the strength of Ullr’s grasp providing winter revelers with plenty of the magical properties of fine frozen water crystals upon which to dance across the landscape or down the mountainsides. While the folklore has persisted for ages, the reality is that sunshine or not on that fabled day in February, the weather will do what it will without adhering to superstition or succumbing to our desires. Nevertheless, the story gives those who are weary of the nippy air hope that they will make it though the frigid season with the relief of warm sunny days.
Our current long range forecast suggests that we will have a couple of those warm days in store for us this weekend, with temperatures rising well above the melting point both Saturday and Sunday, and yes, the projection for 2/2/20 is, at the time of this writing, for a clear and sunny day! Get out and enjoy it, because after that we are expecting a return of passing winter snowstorms to inevitably continue.