I will be the first one to admit that the extended Indian Summer has been nice. It has made for safe driving conditions, allowed prolonged activities such as mountain biking, and even made hanging those holiday lights a whole lot easier. But, with the current long-range weather predictions of continued warmth, it is not boding well for winter activities.
Most of us moved to Winter Park because of our attraction to the many winter sports activities available in this beautiful valley. We know that, with an average annual snowfall of over 300 inches, the snow will come eventually. But a lack of early season snow limits our ability to participate in these activities. It can also result in more snowsport-related injuries, decreased seasonal and year-round staff hours and paychecks, affect lodging and activity reservations, and many other factors which impact the local economy.
The concept of a snow dance is not new. This type of ritual has been performed throughout history by various cultures, with the goal of bringing much needed moisture in periods of drought. While we are not yet in what could be considered drought conditions, if we do not soon experience heavy moisture, there is potential for the situation to change.
Aside from a snow dance, which is typically done by large groups, there are other rituals that people have chosen to utilize with the same goal in mind. These include placing a trail map in the freezer; washing your car or truck; wearing pajamas inside out; walking backwards to bed at night; placing a spoon under your pillow; shaking a snow globe each time you see one; flushing ice cubes down the toilet; or, throwing ice cubes in a pond or river with hopes the water freezes over. Others choose to make a sacrifice, in the form of burning old skis or snowshoes, to Ullr, the norse god of snow.
Weather modification can also come in the form of cloud seeding, but only when proper conditions exist. Denver Water and Winter Park Resort have partnered in this scientific strategy designed to give Mother Nature a boost, and, so far this season, the process has only been initiated for about 30 hours. Prime conditions for cloud seeding needs cloud temperatures to be between 19 and -4 degrees Fahrenheit. A good cold snap could help provide us with the right conditions to enable more cloud seeding, but the results are variable.
I think we can all agree that Indian Summer has gone on long enough – it is now time for all of us, that are so inclined, to practice whatever ritual we feel comfortable with in an effort to bring on the snow, so we can all get out and participate in the activities that make our hearts and spirits soar!