Avalanche Guns and Indians

While I enjoy being woken up by gunshots as much as the next Emily Somelady, today what yodeled through the mountains produced sound that would blow the mind of even the most fierce cannon-loving pirates. After two days straight of fresh white powder falling, in addition to the snow that was already blanketing everywhere you turn, we have a total of 210cm (which translates to 82 inches, 6 feet+, for those of you who speak English) in total depth of snow. Because of the risk of them falling on their own timing and becoming potentially dangerous to skiiers, grizzly bears, and people looking for their lost keys, around here, avalanche control crews periodically shoot off 22 gas- powered guns from the mountains to coax avalanches to fall according to human whim. I am sure it includes some physics and math equations that would fly right over my head. Considering I still have a hard time telling time.

We began the morning with a later start than usual –I should correct myself here and say EVERYONE ELSE –began the morning with a later start than usual, I had the good fortune of being born with the intelligence and soaring GPA in my family and set my clock for three hours too early. I have a hard time telling the number 6 from the number 3, ok? Cut me some slack!

After breakfast of spinach baby food and leftover pork liver mash from dinner, everyone sat around the table, throwing duties, like…skiing, and duvet-fluffing, to the wind. We played cards, and talked about the end of the Mayan calendar. How relaxing. Then it was time to get to work, Stassa’s dad needed relief from her tormenting ways (I hardly call her repeatedly offering him a back massage to be a tribulation, but he seemed to be annoyed by it), so I took her out sledding, we did wintersaults and handstands, and pretended to be snow queens. Not to be confused with ice queens, for that neither of us have to do any pretending. I even let her…. but don’t tell a soul… climb my favorite tree with me and jump into the snow belly first. With our helmets on, of course.

On our way back, we had the clever idea to built a snow castle for our highnesses to enjoy tea and crumpets while sunbathing, fanning ourselves, and feeding us grapes…because there are no pool boys to do it here.

The alarm sounded that the people inside the chalet were hungry. So, in I rushed, transforming myself with my usual air of adulthood. After I fed them all hot dogs, donuts and pine needle stew for lunch, with oyster crackers of course, Stassa and her dad decided it was time to hit the slopes and take advantage of their last day here and the fresh powder with which we had been bestowed. Tom and Julie settled in for nap time, and suggested I go find something to do outside. I didn’t feel like cross country skiing through a snowbank at the time, and they warned me against boogie-boarding down an avalanche, as well as jogging on the main street, I decided to start occupying myself like an adult, I did some mild clean up, pierced my navel with a pen, and then pretended to read like a normal grown woman.

I lasted about three chapters, which were great chapters mind you, before I tiptoed to the hallway, slipped on my snow gear, and got my batooka back out that door…to finish the snow castle of course! If anyone wondered what a mature young lady like myself was doing, I would just explain that I was lost, and expected to set up camp here in this igloo overnight. I also considered blaming the barometric pressure change on the imbalance in my cerebral fluid; if anyone asked, I would just beg for sympathy and hope they toss some money into the hat I left out by the igloo’s front door. 

My imagination pictured the entire village of chalets coming out to join me and show me some new techniques, and together we would be building a great igloo empire. But alas, I woke up from my hallucination and realized I was alone in my construction project.The entire process of igloo-building took me about two hours, but it’s complete with steps, hutch, mini bar, and a moonlight window in the master bedroom….ok, ok, so it’s missing a roof, but I think it will be a nice summer home at least, as soon as I get that sea glass tile bathroom shower installed. I’m having someone come by and appraise it next week.

I learned three valuable lessons today while playing in the snow:

1. I have a lot more respect for the Inuits. Especially as Gortex most likely was not invented then yet.

2. Like any dream, igloo-building takes believing the impossible, living in the moment and a zest for life. Toss in some passion, perserverance, a little foresight, an open mind and you have yourself a recipe for anything you wish! The one and only difference between igloos and my dreams, are that most of mine involve sand between my toes rather than snow down my shirt.

3.  I might change my life’s path to snow-fort building. I can remember some really good ones from my youth, minus the one that buried me alive, which was by far the warmest. There was the Swiss chalet of 1990, the quaint cape of 1996 and the mansion with many rooms at Beth’s, in which we held our 8-person drumming circle and winter solstice spiral dance ceremony in. I suppose it helps when your friend’s dad has a snowplow and can make a snowbank the size of Mt. Everest to start with.

I also learned why 10-year old’s don’t need Botox, it’s because they aren’t nearly as OCD about their snow forts as I am….

Off to play with my Barbies, I mean… read a novel and sip Vervaine,

— Emily —


2 thoughts on “Avalanche Guns and Indians

  1. WOW! My imagination is soaring and we only have 3-4 inches of snow here in Temple. This is some really great writing Emily. One of your best!

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