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Jun 08 2011

It’s Junuary (again)!

There are a lot of amazing things about the winter of Ten-11 and we’re still getting over it. Like the obvious — it’s still here and it’s June already. I want to call it the month of Jane since we already had June in January so we can’t have the same month twice in the same year, right? Except that, so far, we are. So I’ll concede on the name and agree with my wife that it’s Junuary (again).

Runnels dominated the snowscape in the Tahoe area in late March/early April.

This time around it’s still January 7,000-feet above sea level where snow coats the slopes with a frozen blanket ranging from one to 20 feet deep depending on what side of the mountain you’re on. On the home front, just beneath the 6,000-foot level, the grass on the lawn reaches up to grasp the occasional showers of sun that break through the clouds to assure them it is indeed June and summer is only a few weeks away.

The most distinctive feature about our spring clothed in winter this year has been the flow of water. It started like it always does in late March. When I would take the dog for a walk the air was filled with the sound of invisible rivers running beneath the 10-foot berms on either side of the road. In the high country runnels formed everywhere on the snow as the surface bowed to the pull of currents of water flowing underneath.

What’s so unusual is that there is still so much snow up in the high country, and thus the water hasn’t stopped running. Even more unusual is the corresponding lack of flooding down river. It’s been a slow drain. Though many are complaining that it’s still winter in the hills, frankly our friends downstream are lucky that is so. If it had turned warm in April, or even May for any length of time Sacramento might have washed away. But it hasn’t, and there’s lots of snow left to melt. While we’re enjoying good luck, here’s to hoping they put that extra water to good use.

Whether it’s part of God’s grand plan to spare California the flooding it isn’t prepared to deal with, or simply a momentary extension of a phenomenal season so ski junkies like you and I can continue to pursue our passion, I’m thankful I can still go skiing tomorrow if I want. I already laid tracks on the first of Jane, I mean, Junuary, in the midst of a snow storm. Here’s to Junuary, Ten-11 and the longest season I can remember since El Niño visited in ’83!

© 2011