Marolt: Why Moab is popular in the fall
Snow in the middle of October gets me in the mood for a bad attitude. I saw a guy the other day who was excited to see the snow piling up in town, snapping tree branches, closing the mountain bike trails for the season, smothering the last of the geraniums and generally making a mess of things. I asked him, “Why?” He stammered before forcing out something void of reason, “Because I’m excited to ski.” I reminded him that the lifts wouldn’t be opening up for another month. I didn’t say it to be mean.
I don’t believe anyone over the age of 10 likes snow in the yard before Nov. 15. Some don’t believe we put a man on the moon, I don’t believe anyone loves snow before ski season. We’re each entitled to our beliefs, except instead of buying into a conspiracy theory, I’m relying on common sense.
That’s the old man in me talking, but it’s also based on accumulated wisdom, knowing that a lot of people figure out any way they can to out-local other locals. Claiming you love snow at a time of year when nobody possibly could is one of them. I remember once hearing people cheer in Wagner Park when the Fourth of July fireworks were canceled because it was snowing. One person let out a “whoop!” The person next to them yelled “yahoo!” a little louder. The chain reaction contained until there was a roar from the crowd for summertime snow. Really?
It’s like skinning up Tiehack in, say, an hour and 10 minutes and then recounting the event in your mind throughout the day, shaving a half a minute off here and there for one reason or another, like you had to adjust your socks, so that, by the time you get home that evening, you did it in 45 minutes. You actually believe it by the time you go to bed. In the morning, a cup of coffee convinces you that you did it in half an hour. That’s a darn good time that only a few true diehards could manage. Congratulations! You’re a local. Start bragging.
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Maybe it is the true mark of a local to positively exaggerate everything about mountain living to the point where nothing else anywhere else can compare. “I got frostbite hiking the Bowl!” “A bear ransacked my car last night!” “I just lost my employee housing because I’ve been trekking the Himalaya for a year and didn’t work enough hours to continue qualifying for it, but, egads, I’m in great shape!” Congratulations. You’re a local. Keep bagging.
Leave it to locals to turn small talk about the weather into a meaningful test of individual superiority.
It’s not that I don’t like snow. It’s just that there is a time and place for everything. I love snow in early December when the mountain is quiet and we can enjoy every flake thoroughly before the crowds show up for the holidays. I like that as much as turkey on Thanksgiving. However, give me the dry breast of one of those birds for Wednesday evening supper in June and I will reach for the peanut butter and jelly.
The great irony in claiming to love snow falling at a time of year when it only results in cold mud is that, far from being a true local’s reaction, probably the only people who would be truly amazed and inspired by it are people who live far away in hot, arid places removed from the mountains, who have never seen the frosty white stuff, and who will be returning home soon.
The thing is, it matters not one iota whether we like snow in October. So, I figure, why not groan about it? If you can’t go mountain biking and everything in the garden is frozen dead, there is little else to do.
I realize it is a lot to write an entire column on snow falling at the wrong time of year. I can’t stop it. You can’t will it to happen again. I figure it’s mostly that, if I can get somebody stirred up and debating this pointless topic, then I have proved the point. Where there is angst and arguing over something as inconsequential and uncontrollable as the weather is, there are people who need to be out in the sunshine instead. So, you still want to be a local? See you in Moab.
Roger Marolt hates to see a good snow day wasted on fall. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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