EDITORIAL: Going with the flow
They say there’s no surer sign of nothing much to say than talking about the weather. Yet here I am! Living as we do in BC’s second highest elevation city, Rosslanders are, or should be, pretty accustomed to unusual weather. This week, however, I found myself the recipient of winter bashing venom on several different occasions (and through several different media) merely for expressing my desire to go out and play in whatever Mother Nature has in store for us.
Over the past week, and indeed the past two months, Ma’ Nature seems to be a disbeliever in global warming, at least in the short term. Or maybe she’s a skier. As the local mountains roll into their eight month of skiable conditions, with plenty of turns left for even the easy picking backcountry skier, one might think Rosslanders would rejoice at this never-ending ski season. Alas, this isn’t the case. I was surprised at just how much blowback I received to my winter loving chats with the majority of my Facebook contacts living in mountain towns the world over–and with all of my Rossland friends–multi-sport all-stars in their own right (or at least own minds). Facebook calls and photo posts yielded questions like, “Aren’t you over it yet?”, “You’re depressing me,” and “Can you please keep your pro-snow comments to yourself.” Yes they were all in good fun, but in one explosive firing of the fingers over the keyboard, my inner mountain sage felt the need to impart a bit of the wisdom I’ve learned over several decades of mountain life: in life, as with weather, sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow and make the best of what you’ve got. Now, each of us seems to have a mental switch that causes us to make the seasonal leaps. Suffice to say, most folks seem to have long since made the switch to summer regardless of the extended winter we’ve seen. Once that switch is flipped, even the most hardcore skiers become hard and fast mountain bikers, golfers, frolfers or what have you. This past week offered several prime examples. As soon as the weather in town is five degrees Celsius or below, my semi-scientific rituals kick in: check backyard thermometer, BC highways webcams, satellite loops, other skier’s news feeds, repeat. Several times over the past couple of weeks the stars have aligned and all the signs have pointed to late spring powder days. Friday, for example, brought reports from loggers about their not being able to access roads near the Paulson due to 14 inches of fresh snow reaching down to the sub-alpine blacktop. A quick round of calls yielded no takers and thus a solo mission was chartered. My friends’ lack of enthusiasm surprised me. Still, in the mountains the weather is the great decider and if it happens to be snowing, whether it’s January of June, I’m going skiing and no amount of pro-summer rhetoric can stop me. That evening, my future wife and I, chatting as we do about the news, local issues and such, found a real theme of going-with-the-flow appearing in our conversation. We can also start to see the same pattern of mountain happiness expressing itself as a useful tool all over the place. Constantly in the firing line for potential closure, Rossland Secondary School continues to overachieve and introduce new and innovative approaches to learning. They are truly going with the flow without fear of rough waters ahead. We see similar patterns in the faces of survivors and supporters accepting the hand they’re dealt and making the most of it be that through a 12 hour relay run in the rain. No, we can’t control the weather like we can’t control life in general. Things will happen, often unexpectedly, occasionally out of place and sometimes just plain unexplainable, but just as skiing in new-fallen June snow makes lemonade out of lemons, so too are there wins in what can appear to be losses at first sight. Crisis and hard times breed innovation, evolution and better outcomes on the far side. And in Rossland, just as it has for over a century, life goes on. There is always a tomorrow, and as a community we figure things out and come out the better for it. Indeed one small key to mountain living is to ski through life’s June snow storms.