I think it might snow
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January 6, 2017
It's been a bit "weathery" here. Last winter felt substantial because it was approaching "normal" after years of sub-par performance. This year is well ahead of normal, whatever that might actually mean, and I've kind of forgotten what a heavy winter can do.
I've been plowing things out non-stop. Sometimes twice a day. It's looking like I might need to start shoveling some of the roofs on outbuildings on the ranch. Buildings that were designed to have a hundred steaming dairy cows in them are vacant, and the snow isn't sliding off the way it should. So it might need a little persuasion of the long-handled shovel variety.
The skiing has been incredible. The "snow day" at the schools on Tuesday was kind of a surprise. There wasn't supposed to be anybody skiing, and instead, every school kid in town was on the mountain. It doesn't take long to chop it up anymore, but it was still among the best days in several years.
I've been getting up far earlier than I like to see what came overnight, plowing snow for an hour, then heading to the mountain, before going back home to plow again. I'm losing ground on it, and running out of places to put it.
Apparently, there actually is bus service at my house. It comes by at 3:17 p.m. every 62 years. If you miss it, you will be very late for work.
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It's beautiful. The other morning I went out on the front porch before daylight to decide if I had to plow before skiing. The tracks in the snow pointed to another active night in the front yard. A bobcat had walked up the road, into the driveway, took a lap around the hot tub, sniffed at the empty dog dish, and headed north through the woods. It was still snowing, and the tracks were very clear. I probably missed greeting a bobcat on my front porch by a matter of minutes. The dog came out, sniffed around, and decided he was spending the day inside. I think that was a good call.
A couple of days back, I was enjoying a killer post-ski/pre-plow nap. The dog went nuts, barking with a ferocity reserved for the very the worst circumstances, like the propane delivery truck in the driveway, or the zombie apocalypse. I had no idea what was wrong, but there was no napping through it. I looked out the window, and there was a UTA bus in my driveway. Now there's something you don't see every day. The road to my house is a one-lane dirt path, and this time of year, with all the snow, it's a pretty snug one lane. So here's this bus turning around in my driveway.
I've often said I won't live long enough to see bus service at my house, so this was a deeply alarming sight. After checking my vitals, and convincing myself I was still among the living, I went outside to see what was up. Apparently, there actually is bus service at my house. It comes by at 3:17 p.m. every 62 years. If you miss it, you will be very late for work.
It turns out that a neighbor's grandson uses this retired UTA access van, with the wheelchair lift on it, as a delivery vehicle for his business. He was up paying a visit, and concluded he would turn around before getting stuck farther down the lane where it hadn't been plowed. So the dog was comforted to know there was not a busload of zombies in the front yard, and I was relieved to know I was alive and well, and my neighborhood is still bus-proof.
Highway 248 worked reasonably well during the holidays, but when the school traffic was back in the mix, plus the snow that hit right at peak commute time, it became a parking lot.
Traffic was backed up beyond the US 40 interchange, and traffic from Heber was at a dead stop all the way up the off-ramp and into the traffic lane. Park City continues to earnestly study the situation, searching for an elegant, multi-million dollar solution that will involve HOV lanes, more traffic lights, and some kind of magical thinking that somebody else will pay for a monorail or something. The study goes on. And on. In the meantime, re-striping the existing pavement for 2 lanes inbound would do a lot to minimize a life-threatening mess almost every morning. It also would help if people learned how to merge. It's not a competition; it's a commute.
The guy who is at a dead stop in the through-traffic lane on US-40, with oil tanker trucks coming up behind at 70 mph, would probably appreciate the aesthetics of the elegant solution as much as anybody, but the odds are increasing that somebody is going to die while we study the situation for a few more years. Sometimes a Band-Aid really does help.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.