I used to love snow. I associated it with Christmas, sledding, hot chocolate, and all sorts of happy memories. Now I have a whole different set of associations: a stinging face and close calls with frostbite, puddles in my house that get my socks wet, and walking to and from school in the dark.
Snow does, on occasion, make for some beautiful scenery. (Disclaimer: this is not a local photo. It was taken in Juneau. And since you were wondering, it’s Mendenhall Glacier.)
There is even beautiful local scenery.
Then there was coaching cross country skiing. That was fun. And snow is a relatively imperative aspect of the sport…
Wandering around Purposefully conditioning with the ski team allowed access to some pretty striking views.
And when ski practice takes place during sunset. Boy howdy, that’s beautiful!
Cold weather brings out the most adorable cold weather gear. Seriously, could this little guy BE any cuter?
And there’s something about Eskimo cheeks that look even more compelling when bundled in fleece…
Of course, there are also less than cute cold-weather outfits.
But my main beef against snow is the accompanying slipperiness. Packed snow that has been repeatedly trod upon is very slippery. So is ice. One Inupiaq word that I’ve become very familiar with over the last five and a half years is “kataq.” It means to slip or fall.
This picture was taken after one of my early kataqs. I was on skis. I fell flat on my back. I was surrounded by laughing children. It wasn’t one of my proudest moments.
In addition to leaving me sprawled across the ground, my kataqs have caused: trips to the clinic, prescriptions for heavy-duty pain medication, and physical therapy. For reals.
This winter, I’m trying to take a stand against the slipperiness by religiously wearing YakTrax. I haven’t had a single fall since I started wearing them (although there was one close call involving a metal grate that I don’t really want to talk about.)
(By the way, do you love my boots? I inherited them from the teacher before me. Hey Sandy! Thanks for leaving your boots in Brevig!)
Who knows, maybe the YakTrax will change how I feel about snow. Maybe.