A good winter

This morning I deemed it too cold to ski.  Temps at our house were right around negative 30F, and seemed like a bit much.  So I swapped; hiking around the neighborhood with a 40 pound pack in the morning, skin and ski the mountain in the afternoon.

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The upside of the last 48 hours, when temps have only poked above zero in the early afternoon, has been crystalline days.  As was recently discussed, truly good visibility at the Big is a rare thing.  As shown above, the entire southern tier of Glacier, from Jackson to Running Rabbit, was on full display.
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And as seen above here, home was as well.  Whitefish is hidden behind the mid-run tree.  The Blacktail plateau, home of the other ski area, is the large dark massif on the far upper right.  The far upper left is the northern Swan Crest, outpost of the Bob Marshall, with the central crest behind.  The clouds in the center sit over Flathead Lake, with the Swan Range directly behind.  The snowcaped peaks just visible along the Swan are over 100 kilometers distant.

In the two months since winter got rolling for good, we’ve had about every kind of weather imaginable, with none in excess.  Plenty of snow, plenty of sunshine, some warm spells, and some cold spells.  And never enough time to get sick of any of them.  It has been a grand winter to be here (as opposed to California or Anchorage).

Standing up there late this afternoon, which absent a breeze felt quite pleasant even at negative 10F, I thought about the autumn of 2005.  M had graduated, we had spent all summer working, and I had an alluring promotion offer at the job I’d had for exactly one year.  I turned it down and we headed west, never to return.  Today, with three college degrees between us, we live in a little apartment and make well below the median income.  This constrains us, and while it is quite easy to imagine life other ways, I’m content.

Hopefully I have better answers now to a question I’ve been asking for years.

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