At the moment, my wife and I are living in England. It is generally very nice. There are lots of very old things to look at; there are beautiful hills (which they insist on calling “peaks”) to walk; and you can buy a bag of French fries (err, chips) as big as your head for only a pound (that’s a sort of money thing they have here). There is not, however, any snow. This is unfortunate because in the last few years my wife and I have discovered the single best form of outdoor recreation: cross-country skiing. I’ve always loved downhill skiing, and when you add cross-country to the mix, well, winter may well be my favorite season. But it wasn’t until we moved here that we realized how incredibly spoiled we had been. Previously, if the mood to skim through a pristine winter wilderness struck, we simply looked at Facebook to see which area had the best snow. The most difficult planning was deciding which brewery to stop at on the way home. Now we’re wondering if we should mortgage our hypothetical future house for a ticket to someplace where it might get cold enough to run a snow maker.
By the time February manages to show up, a Montana winter can seem interminable. All you can think of is the day when the sun will actually be up in the late afternoon, and the grass will be green and wind—even the wind—will be warm and pleasant. I know just how easy it is to get stuck in the rut of wishing the weather was different. By all means say that summer is your favorite season, but in the meantime go skiing. Plan a ski trip for this weekend. Plan a ski trip for next weekend. Ski into a Forest Service Cabin. Call in sick from work and hit the slopes (Virtual Montana does not endorse skipping work). If it’s cold and windy wear a scarf, but it might not stay that way, so wear layers. Just go skiing. Who knows, this time next year you might find yourself in a lovely mild, temperate land, with not a snow flake in sight.