This morning I returned to the office after my morning coffee run with an announcement: “I’m going to have to re-learn weight distribution.”
My manager immediately knew what I was talking about. “Did you fall?”
Thankfully, it was less of a fall and more of some loose footing caused by the couple inches of snow we got this morning. Yep, the white stuff.
It’s time to start my third northern winter.
A few months ago, in these very pages, I expressed my tentative anticipation at the prospect of returning to live in a place with four seasons, rather than Florida’s two (“stinking hot and rainy,” and “mildly less hot, and drier”).
Then, before I knew it, we had a spring snowstorm three weeks after I arrived in Denver. That weekend I walked around taking dumb pictures, tweeting my excitement about it, and throwing snowballs at dumpsters downtown before my shifts started.
The enchantment of seeing the snow fall hasn’t worn off, and (as my coworkers can attest) I’ve been griping since September about the lack of the consistently cool weather that heralds the arrival of winter. Being a famously sweaty bastard, it’s only been the past few weeks where I’ve absolutely had to wear jeans out of the house rather than shorts.
I guess I’m still in a Maine mindset in terms of weather, though. I think by mid-October I was wearing jeans full-time to work, turning the heat on in the apartment and driving to work with the windows up.
So it goes without saying that it’s been a little disorienting to have mild conditions on my way to work most mornings at 4:30 a.m., and semi-regular 65-degree days on which khakis and a button-down shirt have me wiping my forehead by the time I get to the office.
From what I can gather (and I’m probably wrong), the climate-related differences between Maine and Colorado are a result of the altitude of the latter. Being a mile above sea level makes the air more dry, so there’s less moisture absorbed into the atmosphere when the weather is cold, hence no snow.
As springtime approaches and the weather gets a little warmer, that moisture in the air makes snow in the clouds, and so it falls heavier, wetter and later in the season.
Another thing is that those random warm-weather days I mentioned have a way of melting any snow that accumulates on the ground pretty quickly, and I can’t imagine how much it would take to actually make a thick layer on the streets the way it did in central Maine. Denver also gets a ton of sunny days (rumored to be 300 a year!), which presumably helps accumulation stay manageable.
During my first couple of weeks at the Post, one of my coworkers told me that due to the sheer amount of concrete and traffic in the city, the roads will often stay warm enough that they don’t freeze over, and whatever snow lands there melts quicker than it might in other places. I haven’t been here long enough to see it in action, but it seems like sound logic.
Given our proximity to the mountains and some world-class resorts, I’ve also spent the past few months fielding questions about whether I ski or snowboard (neither, as it happens.) In fact, when Alex and I were playing get-to-know-ya back in May, my relief was palpable when I asked her the same question and she replied in similar fashion.
Now, at 32, with a temperamental back and shitty knees and hamstrings, I’m not as inclined to give skiing or snowboarding a shot as I might have been during my first winter in Maine, even though I have a lot more friends who would gladly take me. I’m perfectly happy to die not knowing what it feels like to tackle the slopes.
That having been said, I’m definitely down to give snowshoeing a shot this winter, particularly if the rumors are true that there are accommodations where you can snowshoe in with your gear, drink the night away, then snowshoe out the next day. Sign me up!
The readjustment to cold weather is certainly something else, though. I forfeited more than a few pieces of warm-weather clothing to Goodwill when I moved to Florida, apparently brimming with confidence that I’d never leave (talk about misguided.)
I’ve re-accumulated some appropriate gear in the past few months and, while it’s not exactly Everest-ready, I manage as long as I layer up. Again, I’m a sweaty bastard, so I don’t even need that many layers.
I still haven’t exactly worked out the best footwear for the task though (since basically all I own these days are sneakers and a pair of L.L. Bean boots), and I keep forgetting that cracking my apartment windows for some fresh air does tend to cool the place down faster than the baseboard heaters can warm it. Luckily that’s covered in the rent
But you’ll never catch me complaining about winter — I figured since I’ve only seen snowy conditions three years out of my 32, I have at least another 10 before it’s no longer enchanting and my childlike fascination goes away.
Ah, who am I kidding? It might become an occasional pain in the ass to deal with, but I sure could get re-used to looking out my window at the powder for a couple of months every year.