As I look out the window right now I am staring at trees swaying in the distance, being shaken by the winds that are accompanying the newest storm front. It is January 20th and between me and the swaying trees in the distance is a table, a window and rain falling in sheets, at times falling horizontally. It is forty-one degrees at the lake right now and not much colder up on the hill I just descended. Normally rain to the top of the mountains in a place like Lake Tahoe in January would be a devastating weather event, making the mountain un-ridable until the next snowfall. This season however, with this rainfall things are really looking up. They are saying we could wake up tomorrow morning with over two feet on the ground. If you have been living here since the early winter this forecast seems like a report of our salvation. If you put this in perspective we have received 6 percent of average snowfall this winter (none of which is on the ground any longer) and this storm would put us at just about the 10% mark going into February (6% if you are comparing it to last winter but don’t do that).
There are good winters and bad winters. There is a good chance that this season will still yield some good snowfall and we will all be able to get a fix at some point before the season is over. Its too early to call this season a wash but as part of this aspiring ski/board film conglomerate, with next to no money for any significant, film worthy, travel this season has not yet started. Sure we have been able to ski mini parks and groomed terrain, and despite the fact that the conditions have deteriorated since the lifts started running in mid-November we a have been able to have some fun and get a couple film worthy shots.
It’s important to stay positive but it’s also extremely difficult. I know talking this way about the weather, so passionately, so dependently seems self-centered, childish, and illogical. Why care so much about something we have no control over especially when our use for this frozen precipitation is for sliding face-first, ass-first, and sideways down, recreation to most. And while the core of this argument is correct the fact remains that snow has become a resource which an industry has been built around. Much like warm salt water is a resource for beach resorts and coal has always been a resource for mining companies all to way to energy companies and the consumers at home, a ski destination without snow is not much of a destination at all and the jobs built around this destination cease to exist or are at least put on hold for an indefinite while.
In this very round about explanation I am trying to explain that not only have we not been able to film up to par here in Tahoe so far this season, but the jobs we all hold to fund our addiction have also taken a hit and left us with little in the way of discretionary funds or any funds for that matter. The days of the broke ski bum used to mean that one would chose to wash dishes for meals or a pass, sleep in the car or under the stairs of some local acquaintances in some old hole-ridden sleeping bag just to wake up an score some nipple deep. Today you don’t need togo to such extravagant lengths to be a slumming in a ski town, you can hold two jobs and have a lease on place with 4 to 7 roommates and live right down the road from the mountain. Peanut butter and pasta appeals equally to both all bums alike.
Should tonight’s forecast pan out we could be in much higher spirits come this following workweek. If these types of weather patterns keep up, minus the rain (though I would take a day of rain if every time it did so we could get a few feet of frozen), this two month period of no precipitation could be a distant and easily forgotten memory. I hope it is. But in the end we cannot discount the fact that we have missed out on two months of filming and riding. When the snow does come we will need to get very creative and milk it for all it is worth. Applying the same model for a JANKY film as we have in the past won’t cut it this year. Most seasons the snow and the shots have fallen in to our laps starting, in some cases, early October. No such luck this time around we will need to work for this one. Luckily we are JANKY so if the bar is not reached its because we are passed out under it. Crack a couple for Ullr because the best chance for deep snow if following a night when you’ve had four or more brews, so drink up!