Aside from following religiously the long-term weather forecast, understanding the intricacies of El Niño and La Niña, looking up in the sky at all time or observing the flights of Canadian geese headed towards Mexico, it’s extremely hard to get a good indication as to when winter will arrive for good.
In fact, my prediction tools are much more rudimentary. When I must rake leaves and clean up the garden all weekend long, this constitutes a serious indicator that the season is about to change and that it’s time to hurry a bit. Another related sign of winter’s imminent arrival is when our living room bay window begins to let some mountain features in, as the leaves that hug the panes start to turn yellow and thin out.
These keen observations fail to tell me with any certainty about the date at which the first serious snow of the season will make it to Park City. This fixation of mine on a certain snow date is tied to a family ritual we used to have and that perked up passions, when our children were younger and still at home with us.
Each Fall season, we’d have a contest that would reward the family member able to predict, or get the closest to the date when winter snow would finally arrive and stay on the ground. As far as I can remember, no one ever landed the exact day, no one tied for the big prize and the winner always got sufficiently close to the date without any need for argument or further contest.
This will be our twenty-seventh winter in Park City and, so far, snow has never let us down. Therefore it’s not a matter of if, but just when it will fall. Besides, there’s always Deer Valley Resort’s prodigious snow making capacity as a back-up plan, but again, I absolutely don’t worry about lacking snow…
So this year, with only two participants, we decided to keep the friendly betting process alive. My wife said snow would come “early” November (vague enough for comfort, right? Her own definition of “early” runs from the first to the tenth of the month) while I set my prediction right on November 22nd. We’ll see when the flakes land and who will have to shovel first!