I feel guilty, and maybe even a little bit ashamed. I shouldn’t feel like I hate winter right now, but I do, and It doesn’t help that all day long at work I’m listening to people say stuff like this:
“I sure hope it snows.”
“We need some snow right about now”
I just play along and say, “Yes you’re right, a powder day sure would be nice right about now.” The words come out of my mouth automatically, after all, I do work in a ski shop, don’t I?
Actually, it’d be closer to the truth to just tell you that I work in a bike shop that sells skis in the winter. For five months of the year, we all are avid skiers, but the truth is, and I think I speak for most of my co-workers, although we are skiing, selling and tuning skis, mounting bindings, and fitting boots, the truth is we are thinking about mountain biking.
It’s true that the skiing sucks during a long dry spell and there is no fresh snow to shred, but droughts like this one we just went through don’t ruin my mood. The snow all needs to melt off again in the spring, so the less of it we get now, the sooner our trails will be dry enough to ride. The less snow falling in March the better! That’s a mindset much different from that of the customers we’re serving this time of year. But it started snowing again this week, so I trust they’ll be happy.
In this part of the Canadian Rockies we may just have the shortest bike riding season in North America. Winters are long, and we are often plagued with cool springs that seem to last well into June, a month that has come to be known as “Mon-June” Usually the rainiest month of the year.
Luckily for my mountain biking self it didn’t snow for almost the entire month of February, and the weather mild but below freezing, adding up to some of the best mid-winter mountain bike trail conditions I can remember. It’s always nice when we get enough dry days allowing the snowshoers to pack down the local bike trails hard enough for us to ride our bikes on. If conditions are right, as they were this year, you don’t even need one of those goofy looking fat bikes. On one of my outings last month, I came to the realization that there was more mountain biking this February, on top of two meters of firm frozen snow, then there will be in March or April when things warm up! That’s weird, but the fact is in many ways this is the best mountain biking of the year made all the more special because it is so limited. At max we get about two weeks of these conditions. That’s if we’re lucky!
So when all the tourists and seasonal people come and see us working in what to them is a ski shop, (they came for skiing, and think we all did too,) I choose to just pretend that I’m in love with winter and am eagerly awaiting the next big dump. It’s outright lying, but most of them just wouldn’t understand. There are a lot of fun activities for every season, but when it comes to true love, you can really only have just one, and in my case, it is the bike.
As exciting as it is to see it dumping snow on us, the pleasure of skiing it only lasts until I get home and see my bike just sitting there in hibernation. Then starts the thinking about that spring bike trip to someplace warm. Utah? Arizona perhaps? Heck, even Kamloops or the North Shore will do!
I look toward the end of the summer with sorrow, and await the end of the winter anxiously. I do what I need to get by, and sometimes that means distracting myself with a little winter sport. But it’s not out of passion that I ski, though I really enjoy it. Mountain biking is my one true love, and jealous lover at that!
Okay, I better wrap up this post, because it’s snowing hard now and that might be it for biking for the next few weeks. I’m really going to try a little harder to live in the moment, and just be happy for the epic skiing ahead. Back into the basement for my bike.