Before I moved to Prince George I had one word for snow. And it was ‘snow’. I assumed when I moved to the city and November rolled around that I, like every other Prince Georgian, would take my stack of library books and curl up by the fire and not come out until May when it was time to buy seeds.
Oh silly me!
Zero degree snow
Turns out that snow falling doesn’t dampen the fun up here, it just enhances it. And as the winter progresses, I realize that maybe there really are many words for snow. There’s the zero degree snow that is wet and heavy and makes excellent snow people. This falls at the beginning of winter when everyone is buckling down and packing away everything on the lawn that might be buried ‘til next spring. Trampolines and pools are dismantled. Wheelbarrows are turned upside down, bbq’s covered and bikes tucked away.
Get outside snow
Then out come the snow shoes, the skis and snowmobiles and the fat tire bikes. Because Prince George has an abundance of nature trails in and around the city, there is no end to the places you can gear up with skis and snowshoes and head off into the wild blue yonder.
The days may be short but when the sunshine is on the snow it’s like walking on a sea of sparking diamonds. I have come to love the gift of frost on a sunny morning. Mother Nature paints everything with a stunning beauty that is here today and gone tomorrow.
Deep but light snow
As it gets colder the snow gets lighter and deeper. Kids make snow angels and tunnels and dogs bound with joy through it all. We have come to value the snow as it piles up against the house, insulating us from the cold winds that can bring in that nasty wind chill.
You won’t get a snowperson out of this snow but bring on the sledding and downhill skiing! The Hart Ski Hill offers something for every age and level. I attempted the ski hill when we first moved here, which only confirmed to me that I need to be on level ground with solid foot wear.
Magical sunny snow days
For the most magical experience find a quiet forest trail on a sunny day and take a slow silent walk under the trees. Snow on fir trees is one of the most beautiful sights to see. The deep snow silences everything around you and those birds that are hardy enough to stay here flit from branch to branch. Keep your eye to the ground and you’ll see mice or weasel tracks zigzagging through the snow covered bramble.
New Year’s snow
When January rolls around it seems like everyone just knows we’re in for the long haul. Enormous snow piles are in every parking lot. People eat breakfast with an ear to the road waiting to hear the plow go by. Neighbours plow out neighbours, snowmobiles can be heard in the fields. Keep an eye on the roadsides for a high stepping moose making its way through the deep snow. Lakes and ponds freeze over for skating and the Outdoor Ice Oval opens up to the public.
Spring is around the corner
By March a new optimism is moving in. The end of the long winter is just around the corner. Hats and mittens come off and bits of earth begin to peek out through the snow and so begins the muddy transition to summer. As the mud appears, we can still have another dusting of snow just to remind us of the tenacity of winter. And with April, the flurries lessen and spring is truly almost here.
When summer finally shines it’s warm sun on us, we appreciate every moment of it even more knowing that as the seasons shift, it won’t be long before we transition to another beautiful long white winter.
About the Author: Val and her husband John have lived in Ontario as well as various cities in BC, rising four children along the way. Now they are enjoying partial retirement in Prince George with their dog Jojo. They have eight grandchildren scattered across the province which gives them lots of opportunities for road trips.