That in-between time

by • March 7, 2017 • Highlights, ToastComments (0)149

Spring snow or savoring summer: Each day is a surprise

The return of daylight is one of my favorite parts of March. The warmer days are nice, for sure, but the sunshine that lasts well after the workday is such a welcome relief. It’s as if that lightness is cajoling us outside to play. And it’s a welcome feeling.

Charlie Sassara readies to rappel off an icefall on Boulder Creek in the Talkeetna Mountains on Feb. 19. The longer, warmer days of spring make day trips like this doable. For more on Alaska’s amazing ice climbing opportunities visit www.alaskaiceclimbing.com. Photo by Andy Hall.

Charlie Sassara readies to rappel off an icefall on Boulder Creek in the Talkeetna Mountains on Feb. 19. The longer, warmer days of spring make day trips like this doable. For more on Alaska’s amazing ice climbing opportunities visit www.alaskaiceclimbing.com. Photo by Andy Hall.

March is the perfect middle ground, when snow lovers can indulge in great spring skiing, and those itching for summery weather can venture outside without bundling up in ridiculously thick layers. One day can deliver a fresh dump of clean snow, while another can blow in a spring chinook, melting everything in sight. The unpredictable nature of this month alone is reason enough to perk up and notice everything around us.
This in-between season is also the ideal time to cook up a coming adventure or embark upon a daylong outing that takes advantage of the longer daylight.
This month, our columnists share some of those middle-season suggestions. From backcountry adventure races (see Sarah Zerkel’s 61 Degrees North column, Page 29) to heli- and cat-skiing treks (See our White Pages column, on Page 12, or a roundup of heli-skiing outfits on Page 6), March is spot-on for a more hospitable, manageable winter outing, no matter the skill level.
If warm summer days are more to your liking, use these days to plan. Mike Halko’s Running Wild column (Page 28) suggests a way to commemorate each of your running races with a patchwork quilt that makes use of the ubiquitous race T-shirts earned after each endeavor. Likewise, Chris Batin shares a summer trout-fishing destination worth putting on your calendar right now (See Page 26). And, finally, Laura Emerson, our Off the Grid writer whose tale of her remote cabin life never ceases to entertain, offers suggestions for that spring snow that will please the palate. She’s on Page 22.

 

LIVES LOST TOO SOON

The lingering snow has its less-than-appealing side, too.
In late January, our newest columnist and a household name in Alaska – Holly Brooks – embarked on a ski trek to British Columbia with a group of friends. She had looked forward to the trip for months, and all went smoothly.
Until the last day. Brooks, in a touching tribute, remembers the life of Amy Downing, a lifelong Alaskan and adventurer who was caught up in an avalanche on the very last day of skiing. Despite her expertise, and carrying everything she needed to be prepared for such an event, the power of the snow was too much. For Brooks and her friends, this is a reminder to treasure every moment outdoors and never take these experiences for granted. She shares her memories of Amy on Page 18.
Debra McGhan, our Safety Matters columnist, has a similar story to tell, of a young woman who died too soon, less than a year ago. Her column reminds us of the importance of “Avoiding the Terrain Trap.” Her story, on Page 24, is worth reading to keep those tips in mind.

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