Guest Editorial: In Defence of Winter

It’s December and I’m checking the 14-day forecast for the thousandth time this week. The grass outside my window is green and the sky is grey. My daughter has used her trampoline more in the last three weeks than she did all autumn. We haven’t even picked up our ski passes yet. We’ve worn our snow pants just once—during a blissful snowy weekend that saw everything melt by Monday at noon. I’m even finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit.


Glen Harris Photo

by Allison Kennedy Davies

I keep reminding myself that this happens in Ontario and it’s actually not all that weird. How do I know? A few years back I wrote a blog for the Mountain Life website looking back at opening dates at Blue Mountain to 1987. While there were a handful of late November openings listed, there was also a December 26 opening in 2001. This helps me keep some perspective; winter will come and when it arrives, it will once again be awesome.

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Truth be told, it’s not the waiting that’s getting to me this year. It’s the number of people I hear celebrating the lack of snow on the street. While it’s pissing down rain, these folks are announcing proudly that they’re happy it hasn’t snowed—that they like the driving better—that they don’t even care if it snows for Christmas. My daughter overheard this last bit and she was mystified—justifiably so. For her, the idea of actually wanting a green Christmas is as unbelievable as the idea that Santa Claus might bring presents while leaving his milk and cookies untouched.

For my daughter, the idea of actually wanting a green Christmas is as unbelievable as the idea that Santa Claus might bring presents while leaving his milk and cookies untouched.

My fascination with these winter haters is fair. We do live in a Great Lakes snow belt, in an area with an abundance of ski resorts, in a region that’s known for its amazing year-round outdoor offerings. Why any logical person would live in such a target-rich environment for winter good times when they don’t even like snow strikes me as odd.

CBC’s The Current recently aired a debate trying to close the gap between winter haters and winter lovers. As host Anna Maria Tremonti put it: “Winter divides Canadians into two camps.” If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re in the pro winter camp. You’re probably one of the thousands of Canadians who takes pride in getting bundled up and braving the elements—even if it’s just because you truly love getting unbundled and enjoying a hot toddy by the fireplace.

If you’re in the other camp, I challenge you to embrace this year’s long-awaited winter when it finally comes. I challenge you to don that neglected winter gear (it’s retro now anyway), find some skis, skates or snowshoes and try something new. As I’ve often heard it put, those who say they don’t like winter are often those struggling through the slush from the subway to their office. Nobody likes that—not even the winter lovers. But getting out and experiencing real winter fun, on the slopes, in the bush or around a winter campfire, is when the magic happens.

I’ll keep praying to Ullr, watching my BC friends camp out in the lift line at Revelstoke while I’m wondering if I have to mow the grass again, and I’ll keep the faith that this year’s new winter memories are just around the corner.