Changing Snow

There’s something wholesome about early winter snow, the kind you get from December to February.

It’s fluffy and light, virgin-white, and powdery soft.  When you pick it up in your hands, it weighs almost nothing.

When you look at it closely, you can see the individual snowflakes reflecting the sun, like thousands of diamond crystals.   And when you put it in your mouth and it melts, it’s the sweetest tasting, purest water you can imagine.

Champagne powder, the skiers call it.   It crunches under your feet when you walk on it.  It’s a delight to ski on, and it’s fun to play in.

But then, all good things must come to an end.

By March, the snow changes.

It still looks white, but the daily freeze/thaw cycles have turned the crystalline wonder into corn snow…little globules of ice that stick together.

Gone is the powdery fluffiness.    Gone is the sound of crunching footsteps.

Also gone is the clear purity…as now the snow takes on a dirty appearance:  not something you want to put in your mouth anymore.

Sure, you can still ski on it.  But it’s not quite as much fun.

Your choices are hard cement in the morning, or mashed-potatoes by noon.    It’s the kind of slop that requires you to use Klister wax on your cross-country skis,  which is the equivalent of smearing your ski bases with sticky maple syrup.

The snow has turned:  it’s now past it’s “Best Before Date”.   Within a month,  it will be gone.

Sure, we might get a few more snowstorms here and there.   But they’ll be heavy and wet, and any new snow will only temporarily cover up the corn-snow, before it melts again.

It will never be the same again, not like it was in January.

I find this time of year bittersweet.

On one hand, I’m sad to see the snow leave, because I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to winter.  There are still a few more ski runs left…a few more winter hikes I want to do….

On the other hand,  trout season opens in 6 weeks.

Explore posts in the same categories: The Outdoor Friar

14 Comments on “Changing Snow”

  1. Donald Mills Says:

    That first picture is quite something, Friar. Nice work.

    I’ve never liked the snow in March. Down here the snow becomes that nasty black and all of the crap that people have discarded over the course of the past few months starts to come to the surface. Cigarette butts and wrappers and all manner of trash.

    I’m always anxious for the last of it to be gone and for the ground to firm up enough that everything can be raked and cleaned.

  2. Donald Mills Says:

    Oh, and I forgot….

    I apologize to Eyeteaguy for being first. I know he’s sensitive about that.

  3. Friar's Mom Says:

    @Wee Friar,

    Sheesh! Don you beat me. Darn!!!

    I was writing a Firstie comment, to say “I beat you, Eyeteaguy”, and your comment popped up.

    Well I’m Second.

  4. Friar's Mom Says:

    Wee Friar,

    March is always bittersweet. The end is near when the teens board and ski in short sleeves and wear sunglasses during March Break.

    I’m still optimistic that the snow in the forecast will materialize later this week. It has eluded us for so long.

    Bittersweet because I’m having so much fun here, yet I know I have to face reality and leave in a few weeks.

  5. Friar Says:


    …not to mention when the snow melts, you start to see the previous 4 months’ worth of doggie-doo that’s accumulated.

    I guess you broke Eyeteaguy’s streak. Up until now, he was five for five. But if anyone did beat him, I’m glad it was you.

    I don’t know where he is…the lad must be asleep at the switch or something.

    @Friar’s Mom
    At the point, Eyeteaguy might only qualify for “Thirdies”, at best.

    I can see why you’re reluctant to see winter end. I’d feel the same way, if I was skiing in BC and had to look forward to coming back to Ontario.

  6. Eyeteaguy Says:

    At least you stopped PAINTING the snow and took a fscking picture of it like the rest of us.


    P.S. I was firsties but decided not to post it as I didn’t want Friar to think I was stalking him…..even though I am.

  7. Seestor Says:

    @ EyeTeaGuy.

    You can stalk me.


  8. Friar Says:


    Suuuure, you were first.

    I think you just cant’ handle the fact that Don beat you to the punch.


    Why don’t you guys stalk each OTHER…and make it a game?

    Eyeteaguy’s relatively safe. I can vouch for that.

  9. XUP Says:

    Are you taking estrogen treatments, Friar — all this poetry and having a good little cry about the end of winter… sorry, what I meant to say was that you can paint a picture with your words as well as you can with your brush. There are some very lovely turns of phrase here. And that first photo is brilliant. We barely have any snow left at all here in the big city

  10. Friar Says:


    Once in a while, I’ll pretend to write something sensitive and poetic.

    A couple of reasons I like to do this:

    Number one, it’s like a Control-Alt-Delete. It shakes things up, and throws my readers for a loop.

    And number two (more importantly), it tends to annoy Eyeteaguy.

  11. Kate Says:

    and #4: you’re very good at it, so why not.

    Cute dog playing ‘fetch’ with a snowball!

    Enquiring minds would like to know what the thing is in the last photo? Is it a giant fluffy toy seal, or a snow seal, or neither of those things?

  12. Friar Says:


    The doggie is my Seestor’s. She’s endlessly retrieving. (The dog, that is).

    And that’s a plastic polar bear/Christmas decoration. It lights up at night when you plug it in.

    It was a housewarming gift from my dear siblings.

  13. Steph Says:

    Haha! Awesome last sentence. Something about this post reminded me of a magazine article or a little editorial or something.

  14. Friar Says:

    True…trout season opens April 30th in the park. Earlier, outside the park.

    (Though I’m a bit reluctant to take the canoe out too early…if you tip, you’re dead!)

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