Tom Clyde: A sign from above
If it snows this weekend, I’m taking full credit for it. The TV weather guy who is on the radio (only in Park City) said we might see 6 to 12 inches this weekend. That’s 300 mm, but even if measured in inches, it’s enough to matter. I’ll believe it when I see it. The better news is that the 90-day, wild-guess forecast based on chicken entrails or something equally scientific says the next few months will be wetter than normal. Global patterns are shifting, oceans are warming, and the spots on the bellies of goats in Madagascar have changed color. Or something like that. That’s encouraging, though it needs to cool down a little bit or it will be that awful transparent powder.
We all need to do what we can to encourage a change in the weather. Pulling the snow tires off the car usually brings snow. Is that too much to ask? You can put them back on in May when you will really need them. I’ve done my part. I bought new skis. The old ones suffered a mortal wound, and died in action.
I was skiing with a friend and found I could turn one direction just fine, but nothing felt right turning the other way. So I started trying to figure out what was wrong. The first line of inquiry is always operator error. If there was nothing obviously wrong with technique, maybe my boots needed tightening. After cranking them down like a tourniquet with no effect, I started looking at the binding. There seemed to be a whole lot of wiggling going on.
On telemark skis, the connection to the ski is a little sketchy to begin with. But stuff isn’t supposed to move. When I told my friend that I had a screw loose, he said he always knew that. I made the on-mountain MacGyver repair with a toothpick shim, and everything seemed OK. Throwing caution to the wind, we did a run down Portuguese Gap. That was the end.
I chalked it up to just one more frustration in this frustrating winter. My friend, who is a bona fide member of the clergy, saw the situation differently, as he often does. He said that it was surely a sign from God that I should buy new gear. Usually it’s the devil who makes people spend unnecessarily. This time, he was sure it was coming from the other direction. I wasn’t about to argue with that.
When I got home and took things apart, stuff was clearly amiss. There are supposed to be 4 screws holding the binding on. One of them was sheered right off. Another one was flopping around in the stripped out hole, despite the toothpick shim. The back two were doing the whole job. The other ski was no better off. They could have been fixed. A little epoxy in the holes, and remounting the bindings in a slightly different spot would have done it. But if it really was a sign from above — well, who am I to question that? No point in taking chances.
So I bought new skis, and since this was before Presidents Day, I paid retail, which I almost never do on ski gear. Sometimes you have to take one for the team. They are wonderful, and my friend has led me to believe that the purchase will usher in weeks of powder skiing. He was annoyed that I hadn’t done it a month ago. Of course on Monday, I got an email ad from Backcountry announcing that the whole set up I had just bought at full price from one of our great local shops was now available on line for 25% off. Well, too late to take advantage of that. Besides, the advice from the shop was absolutely worth the difference. And I got to ski with the entire state of Texas over the holiday weekend.
So I’ve done my part to resuscitate winter. What have you done to encourage a change in the weather? You’ve always wanted a skylight. This would be a perfect time to cut a big hole in your roof. Then send your contractor to the beach for a couple of weeks. Don’t you have some concrete to pour? If you own a convertible, park it outside with the top down. Home Depot is well-stocked with both snow blowers and lawn mowers. I’m not sure which would bring it on. Maybe you should get one of each, just in case. You’ll need them both in the next month.
While I’m willing to take the credit for (but not guarantee) a possible storm this weekend, I have no responsibility or connection whatsoever with the snow that will inevitably come in June. Somebody else caused that.
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.
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Skier, mountaineer, environmental activist and Park City resident Caroline Gleich writes that Andy Beerman’s commitment to the climate is vital to Park City’s future.