Pam’s Sense of Snow

All righty boys and girls! The snow has fallen, you’re busting with enthusiasm, and it’s time to get out there on the snow. You’ve been down in the basement to dust off the gear.

You’ve replaced the poles you bent at the end of last season and you’ve got some flash new outdoor wear. You’ve rounded up the gloves and hats and winter jacket. You’re ready to go, right?

Not so fast, pardner. It’s been a whole season since you headed out there in the fluffy stuff and there are a few things you’ve forgotten in the mean time. These handy common sense guidelines will make your first day out on the snow a resounding success. Trust me on this, I know.

The car

It takes forever to get out the door. It’s not just loading up the gear; it’s getting the car ready. First, you have to start the car, and depending on how cold it is, there’s no telling how long that can take. Once the car is started, you need to brush all the snow off it and, if necessary, scrape the ice of the windshield. Don’t be a dork; take this time to check the windshield cleaning fluid. If some moron has filled it with water, you know who you are, it could be frozen solid, and if it’s empty, you’re going to be annoyed when you head up the pass behind that truck.

The clothes

Oh, you might want to show off your svelte new profile in those windstop tights, but if you haven’t put your gators on, when you brush the snow off the car, it’s going to end up in your boots and you are going to have to go back inside and start over again. Also, you are going to need a second pair of gloves; after all, your first pair is going to get wet from cleaning the car. If you’re going to be out all day, you may want to toss a second pair of socks in the car. Okay. You’ve followed the whole dressing in layers thing, right?

The journey

There is no need for driving is snow to be so traumatic. Just don’t be a jerk. Slow down a little. Pull over and let that guy pass, what the hell. Ten extra minutes on the snow is not worth your life. And hey, don’t wait until it’s required to check your chains. You’re going to hate the noise they make if you put them on and they’re not properly fitted or they’re from your old car. Hoo, hoo boy. That is one nasty noise.

The parking lot

You have arrived safely. You remembered everything…or did you? Nope. You forgot the sunscreen and now, you are going to get burned to a crisp. Here, you can use some of mine. Also, wait just one minute. Where did you put the car keys? In that zippered pocket of an item you do not take off. Ever. Right? Snack? Water? Toilet paper? Cell phone? (I swear by this. I play in the snow solo, a lot, and think it’s an essential piece of gear.)

The drive home

Whew, what a gorgeous day out. You’ve knocked all the snow off the gear and stowed it, cleaned the car – again, if it’s snowing – and you’re ready to head for home. Hold on there. Don’t drive away just yet. Take a walk around the car. Why? Because your snowshoes are leaning up against the trunk. Or your vest is on the roof. Also, word has it that most car accidents in snow areas occur because drivers have worn themselves out mightily on the snow and they are just exhausted. Don’t overdo it, okay? Yeah, it’s your vacation, but it’s going to be ruined if, instead of going home, you wrap your car around a tree.

Odds and ends

Here is what you are going to lose, so please be prepared. Your lens cap. Gloves, sometimes one, sometimes both. An article of clothing – this is going to really irritate you. Sunglasses. Over and over and over again. Lip balm. Also, you are going to find these things, often. Please hang them on a nearby fence post or sign, because when that person goes back the next day they are going to be really happy to see the vest they left on the top of the car when they drove off.

You will meet a guy who wants to talk a lot longer than you would like to, but we snow people are friendly folks; plus, he’s never been on snowshoes before, so be nice. It’s good karma. Also, afterwards, you are going to be sore and really hungry. Good for you, I say. Go eat something. Pizza is always good. Also, chowder. I can’t recommend the goulash, but you should save room for dessert.

All right, NOW you are ready to head out on the snow. Use your common sense and have a good time. Go on, get outta here!

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Pam Mandel