Up The Road: Snow Going

Apr 12, 2017


Today let’s consider journalists and snow. To hear some people talk, plain old journalism isn’t worth the paper it used to be printed on, and journalists matter even less—clearly ridiculous. Journalists do valuable work, passing along useful info, day after day. The big leaguers are more than useful, busy as they are writing one after another “first draft of history,“ a phrase used as early as 1905. What’s news today is history tomorrow, yet another truth that’s self-evident.

Less obvious is the fact that journalists can be funny, though most try not to let humor get in the way of pursuing the truth. Just think of all the wit and wisdom going to waste because of relentless deadlines, the Associated Press Stylebook, and nitpicky editors.

One particular wit got me thinking about all this. Earl Wilson, a back-in-the-day gossip columnist noted for being fair and honest—so much so that celebrities begged him to share their personal dirt. Who wouldn’t love a guy who could report with a straight face: “An exhaustive study of police records shows that no woman has ever shot her husband while he was doing the dishes”?

But as for snow—and here’s where we start heading Up the Road properly—Earl Wilson once said: “Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” That also sounds true.

The immense amount of snow that’s landed on California will disappear eventually, ignore it or not. But why ignore it? Before it starts melting and threatens to become a flooding problem, it’s play time, people. Skiers and snowboarders have been having soft, powdery fun all winter, so now the rest of us need to get to it. 

And then there are the pleasures of building snow people...
Credit Kosala Bandara

Kind of a rookie? Just to get started you could go whole hog for a day and check into a snow play resort, where food, bathrooms, and other family-friendly facilities are close at hand, not to mention rent-a-sleds and snow saucers or inner tubes. Some don’t allow you to BYO equipment. There are a number of good choices near Tahoe. Affordable and fun, Kingvale Resort is open weekends only now but all-day snow play and sledding is $10 per person plus parking. Adventure Mountain at South Lake Tahoe expects to be open through April and offers snowshoe trails as well as both sledding and tubing with groomed sledding runs. It’s $30 per vehicle, perhaps an even better deal, and you can rent sleds or BYO (no wooden ones or metal).

If you have snow toys, California Sno-Parks that dot the Sierras are an option—$5 day-use fee, get your permit in advance (parking without a permit risks a big fine). For quiet find a spot without snowmobilers. There are a few near Tahoe, endlessly popular, so get their early, even on a weekday. Parking goes fast.

Better yet, avoid the city crowds and play for free, close to home. Ask around. Forest Services offices are a good place to get suggestions. Near Mount Shasta, for example, if there’s snow try Snowman Hill at Snowman Summit on the way to McCloud, or drive farther to Eskimo Hill near Lassen on Highway 44. Butte Meadows up Highway 32 from Chico is usually good, though it’s all starting to melt there now, or keep going to Plumas and Lassen Counties. Some national forests, and Lassen National Park, offer free guided snowshoe or cross-country treks in good snow years.

Another great snow quote: “A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.” So get out there right now, the best year ever for California snow, and make some friends.