I never complain when it snows for one simple reason: it gives me a chance to cross country ski. The Winter Weather Gods have provided me with more opportunities than usual to strap on my skis this season here in New Jersey. So I have sneaked off to ski several times with just the dog, and once with the dog and my husband.
I have yet to find a better way to enjoy the cold weather. I set off each time with temps in the teens, and never felt the cold. I stick to the trails in a small wildlife management area at the end of my development. Three main highways border it, and I always hear the traffic noise, yet it feels so far away. I only see the trees, the snow, the streams and the dog. The dog must run two miles for every mile I ski. She catches a scent and follows her nose meandering off the trail until she runs full tilt to catch up with me again. She repeats this cycle endlessly until we finally return to the car to head home.
Sometimes the neighborhood teens ride their quads in the woods after a storm, and the snow gets tamped down perfectly for skiing. Sometimes I find a trail with no tracks and break my own. We saw chickadees flying out from hollowed stumps as we skied by one evening, and we heard an owl. If I look closely enough, I always find animal tracks too – deer, rabbit, small ridges where mice have burrowed under the snow.
I clear my head out there in the woods in all that cold air and it always feels good. I hope the forecast calls for more snow.