Last week was our 3rd annual women’s ski weekend. Like the first two years it was a treat, with fantastic trail conditions, cold but beautiful weather, and good company. We skied Thursday afternoon 12 miles or so into one hut, then 20 miles on Friday to the farthest hut (across a lake where we nearly expected to see penguins–but didn’t.) Through pine forests with really tall trees, along the beautiful, winding, Dead River, and across a very different portion of the same river on a bridge that shook with the power of the roaring falls 1/4 mile away. The final day we skied 9 miles back out to our car. We finished the get-a-way with wine and brick oven pizza before arriving home happy and tired after dark.
Excepting a couple of nasty blisters it was perfect.
The day we left for skiing we drove out of blizzard like conditions into sunshine while another 6 inches fell on our already ridiculously high piles of snow at home.
The snow fort below represents nearly the actual height of snow fall. We did not pile that up, though there was likely some drifting, but instead shoveled through the snow to get to the door. (The snow I shoveled was thrown the other way, off of the deck).
Its an absurd amount of snow, and a ton of fun for skiing, snow shoeing and sledding. A pretty amazing winter for taking pictures of children in warm snow suits outfitted for all kinds of snow play, and returning to the steamy kitchen for hot chocolate and a warm fire. A lovely winter for those of us who don’t have to shovel long paths to feed animals or get our cars out or thaw frozen pipes each morning.
I’m not naive to the reality that many families in Maine (and elsewhere) are not having the same experience as us. I have lived in cold houses before. I have spent winters where the chill sits in your bones and the heating pipes freeze on their way to the baseboard heaters upstairs. Where you leave the cabinet doors open so the pipes under the sink won’t freeze, and the hair dryer is a permanent fixture beside the nearly frozen toilet. Where babies sleep in snowsuits. This must be a particularly difficult winter for living in an old, cold, drafty farm house. Or trailer. Or Yurt.
This winter I am feeling so grateful for our tractor, and my husband who plows with it. For a warm house and free wood (and my husband to cuts it). For children who can dress themselves in all their winter gear, and for the means to get them winter gear that fits. To replace a jacket when Wylie busts (yet another) zipper, to knit new wool hats, and to have a community that passes down winter gear from child to child. Thank You.
A few good winter tips we’ve learned this year:
Consignment shops and Goodwill are the best places to shop for children’s winter jackets and snow pants.
Bog and Muck boots are amazing for kids (just step into them!). Duct tape works fine to patch up any holes, use the snazzy prints. Get them 2nd hand if you can.
Old wool socks make the best wrist protection for tiny arms. Just cut off the toe section and slip them on your kid’s arms, over their mittens and sleeves to bridge any gaps.
Our local hospital’s community health program loans out kids snowshoes for free. We borrowed several pairs for a recent 4-H gathering.
Duct tape works well to cover a blister (use a band-aid first) to reduce friction. Carry a bit wrapped around your water bottle to always have it handy for hiking/skiing (thanks Michelle!)
Wool leg warmers can be used to fix almost anything. Carry them on your legs.