March: When we both cling to winter and yearn for summer
In our household, March arrives with less enthusiasm than in past years. While the added daylight is welcome, and the warmer temperatures are a relief, we’ve all agreed that we were robbed of a proper winter. The darker days of November and December brought us little in the way of snow accumulation, and even January deigned only to deliver one or two minor snowfalls. We simply are not ready for the arrival of what comes after March: melting snow, warmer temperatures, the prepping and packing away of all those skis that never saw enough use.
Still, it’s hard to deny that this time of year also comes with some excitement. For me, spring has always been the sign that I’ve earned the warmer days ahead, the outings in full sunshine, and the rare hot days when a tank top is called-for. This is when we are rewarded with Alaska’s beauty for withstanding the previous cruel, cold months.
Even though we didn’t endure such a winter this time, I still feel the itch. And even though we didn’t get all the snow we would have liked, there is still plenty of snow yet to enjoy in our lingering daylight.
This month, Alyeska’s Ben Napolitano suggests three of his favorite ways to eke out the last of winter on skis. If you have the time and budget, each is worth every penny. Look for him on Page 10.
So, too, does Joe Stock, sharing his favorite springtime ritual for backcountry skiing. His words and images of an Arctic to Indian ski trek remind me of my own trip up there several years ago. It’s still a highlight of my springtime memory-making trips, and Stock tells us how to plan your own adventure, on pages 15-17.
And for those who might be looking forward to pulling out their skinny-tired bikes and hitting dry pavement, hold off just a bit. Janice Tower, on pages 28-29, tells us how to pay close attention to the weather and perhaps nab a rare “crust-biking” adventure. The stars must align, the snow must be perfect, and the hours are brief — but stumble upon a lucky crust-biking day, and you will find new reasons to enjoy this very special time of year.
If — despite all the enticements these folks share — you are still ready to shed winter’s cloak, you are not alone. For some, March is a prep stage — when you look forward to fishing, camping and running without cleats on your shoes. Depending on the day, I’m that person, too.
For you, we suggest Chris Batin’s itinerary — Southeast is a destination sure to please the serenity-loving angler, and he tells you how to plan a trip there, on pages 30-31.
Mark Bly encourages us to eat our way through March — pages 20-21 — while Mike Halko counteracts all that food with some suggested workouts to keep us in shape for the shoulder season and prep us for racing in the summer. See pages 25-26.
I plan a little bit of both. Spring skiing at Alyeska can’t be beat, yet devouring a bunch of comfort food afterward sounds good too. Face it: This is a manic time of year, and we do the best we can.