With winter comes this most necessary gift
Even though living in Alaska means we can be pretty much guaranteed to have snow on the ground come Christmas Eve, there is still something so very special about fresh snow falling on Dec. 24.
This year, as winter marches forward with its cold temperatures and pleasingly fresh snows of early season, I watch as the ground gets covered and all of the fun winter sports – alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, dog mushing, ice skating and more – commence. Each time a couple of inches drops, it adds to the cumulative beauty of winter in Alaska. Or we can go days – weeks, even – without snow and that fresh whiteness dulls, flattens and becomes gray. It’s a barometer of our collective moods, and no matter one’s opinion on snow, it’s always best when fresh and new.
It’s no wonder that Native Alaskans have so many terms for the word “snow.” It really does take on a personality of its own. Sometimes wet and sloppy, sometimes tiny and dry flakes, snow is nonetheless part of the fabric of our winter lives. It’s why, when we have winters without it we become so lost, confused and saddened. Even for those who are not fans of snow, winter in Alaska is still not the same without it.
As the holiday season grabs hold, there will be snow celebrations galore. Paramount among those is Alyeska Resort’s annual Santa Skis Free day. This fantastic event (give an award to whoever came up with this great idea!) celebrates all things winter: skiing, snow and Santa. Read all about Alyeska, opening day and how to be an official Santa-skis-free participant (hint: a simple Santa hat won’t do it) on Page 8.
Also worth looking forward to – and the more snow the better when it gets here – is the 2018 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships, to be hosted at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. This highly competitive event will include the nation’s top Nordic skiers, all vying not just for podium spots at the event, but also for qualification potential U.S. Ski Team spots for the coming Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Younger skiers will be racing for qualification into national and international competitions to be held later in the season. It’s going to be a week packed full of anticipation and excitement, and we have the official guide, which starts on Page 11.
I’m looking forward to all of that, but for now, my mind is on Dec. 24, when the fire will be going in the fireplace, there will be Christmas music playing and my nearly adult kids will be tucked in bed for the night, unsuccessfully resisting the urge to be excited about the next day. Hopefully, I’ll look out the window, turn on the light and see soft white flakes landing silently on the porch outside. A white Christmas is indeed a gift that is priceless.