Magazine article Sunset

Let It Snow!

Magazine article Sunset

Let It Snow!

Article excerpt

32 of the West's best snow-play areas, plus new snow toys and everything you ever wanted to know about snowmen

Ten-year-old Erik-the Red, the Bold, the Invincible-calmly prepares for Armageddon. Almost 100 powdery white weapons of mass destruction, each molded into a grapefruit-size sphere, lie piled beside him in a lair near the north shore of Lake Tahoe.

I know attack is futile, but I advance anyway. (Some things, as a father, you just have to do.) Feigning a sneak, I rain my own handcrafted projectiles toward his snug nest. He's virtually untouched. Soon I slump exhausted and defenseless. Or, at least, it is time to pretend to be.

Only then does he rise, pelting me mercilessly with one perfectly packed snowball after another, each sent to its mark with a primordial Viking "Heeahh!" that must be rooted in his genes.

Snow play. It brings out the beast and beauty in a kid. As parents, we cater to winter play because-thank goodness-someone took us to our first linen-white snowfield long ago and said, "Have snowball fights (no icy stuff allowed), make a snowman (yes, he can wear Dad's hat), slide around on old truck tires, lie on your back and make an angel, get snow up your back and down your pants."

Or words to that effect. In Wisconsin, where I grew up, this sort of thing happened all the time in our front yard, or out on the street before ol' Ole Sorenson came by with the plow. But despite the Rockies, the Sierra, and the Cascades, most people in the West don't live in snow country The majority of us dwell in a relatively warm pocket of air that hangs close to that great thermal moderator, the Pacific Ocean. Or inland in places where snowfall is a relatively rare phenomenon. Which is why in winter, we wade through the TV and radio reports of the latest blizzard in Chicago for news of snow in our local mountains.

And then comes the good news, confirmed anecdotally by sightings of pickups on the interstates with snow still blowing from their beds. …

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