As I write this column this morning I sit in giddy anticipation of shoveling the snow that has accumulated outside my window. There are several inches on top of several inches … a snow shoveler’s dream!

Call me nuts, but I am one of those people who goes outside on a snowy morning and gleefully falls into the rhythm of the honest work of clearing snow. My implement? A plastic-and-wood marvel that is light and strong in the face of flakes, slush and packed powder.

Ice? Outside my wheelhouse, but I will break out the iron bar when called for.

Getting outside on a snow day gives me an opportunity to warm up. My dwelling was built in the 1960s and has single-pane glass and a dormant fireplace I’m not allowed to touch. Just this morning I felt a breeze coming through the kitchen cabinet that would blow out a church candle. I still love it here.

Once outside with my shovel, the steam starts to rise inside my thick down coat, and it won’t be long before I remove the poly-whatever hat and the glasses that will fog over. I won’t be stiff or sore until later — when the work is long done.

No, I honestly can’t wait to get out there and wield the yellow blade, scooping, scraping and shoving the piles and chunks. Most people would look at my driveway and wonder where the plow driver is, but I look at it and see an opportunity for over an hour of meditation, contemplation and movement. Start at the top and work down, down, down.

And then there’re the stairs, the walkway and anything else I can find to smooth and tend. After I’m done here I go to the neighbors, who are in their mid-90s, and clear rooflines and walkways. I take extra care to brush off the steps that Doc Johnson uses to get down to his basement. What else do I have to do besides make sure that those steps are totally clear and the walkway below is scraped to the ground, salted and sanded?

This new blanket of snow is like a balm to the valley. Yes, skiers and snowboarders must be feeling a little less foolish about spending $104 for one day of slipping down Winter Park, which recently sported a mostly man made base from water stored in a drought-stricken environment. OK, today there’s a reported base of 41 inches at mid-mountain, but things are trending toward winter. We’ve had 8 inches in the past 48 hours. Not gangbusters but there’s renewed hope.

In recent weeks the valley seemed oddly surreal with temperatures in the upper 40s as whole communities in California burned to the ground. The Santa Ana winds funneled the flames to dry grass for extra fuel. I was starting to wonder if the next mass extinction was underfoot and included us. California is still on fire but not so much. Places like that feel farther away when winter finally comes and entombs us in the Rocky Mountains.

It is hard to deny what’s happening. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that we just had the third-warmest year on record and the warmest November on record. Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice coverage remain at near-record lows.

Still, I have heard people with more than half a brain mutter, “I don’t believe in global warming,” while pointing to streaks in the sky as evidence of chem-trails, which are apparently government-sponsored airplanes spraying aluminum on us to combat global warming, which is apparently a Chinese hoax designed to keep us from mining, selling and burning all the coal, tar sands, oil and gas still held in the bosom of a beleaguered planet. There has been some cloud seeding but that’s not a sexy conspiracy like chem-trails.

I think the sea water could be up around our necks in Utah and we’d still be arguing about the cause of the new weather patterns, instead of taking common sense measures just in case the scientific community is not full of a smelly excrement after all.

I checked online for any snow-shovel breakthroughs, but I don’t see anything topping my 36-inch, plastic-and-wood basic model. The Japanese have developed a robot that eats snow and produces snow bricks, but I don’t fear automation yet.

And now that I’m done with my last column of the year, it’s time to go outside and work my magic.

Steve Skinner wishes you the best and hopes for snow, snow, snow. Reach him at