Still Winter In Our “Backyard”
2019-04-08 05:49:55.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist
The acronym “NIMBY” (Not In My BackYard) is typically used for a person that objects to something perceived as unpleasant/dangerous in their local area. However, growing up around Lake Tahoe (CA) I always heard this acronym used to describe the mentality behind the sudden spring slow-down in businesses associated with winter activities like ski resorts, snowmobiling, lodging, restaurants, etc. It didn’t matter if we had enough snow to last us well into June or July, when the Central Valley and Bay Area (where a lot of tourists came from) started to warm up, for folks in these areas, winter activities were no longer on their minds as winter was not in their backyard. As a result, the winter activities in my backyard would start to slow or close up shop for the season. And tourists that came to visit would always stick out as they would be wearing less than ideal clothing/gear for the conditions they were in. On the flipside, my backyard would have so much snow at times that it was jarring when visiting areas outside my bubble and see the sights/sounds/smells of spring were in full swing. And sometimes that would mean sticking out like a sore thumb as I was overdressed and appear pale in comparison to those that had had a jump on spring far earlier than me.
Flash forward to now and it is a similar set up here. Looking out at my backyard at home as well as here on the summit, winter is far from over at this point in time. Inches of snow covering my homes backyard builds to feet of snow still covering the mountain sides around me. New England’s “fifth” season, mud season, has not quite broke out here yet. However, all I have to do is look around my social media feed to know that spring is moving forward without me in southern New England and points south as I see pictures of flowers springing up and my friends all starting to do spring-like activities. And around here, I am seeing traffic starting to thin as folks from these areas slow their travels north as winter is no longer in their backyard.
Backyard view of Boot Spur and the southern Presidentials taken 7 April 2017
Eventually spring will move into these parts and winter will all be but a fading memory as things melt out. However, that moment has not happened yet, and will not happen for the coming days as more storms with wintry weather head this way. If you live in areas where winter is NIMBY but you still want to do winter activities, there are still plenty of offerings the further north you head. However, that means you need to be prepared for the winter weather you might encounter. Pack layers so you can add/remove articles as changing conditions occur. Pack traction – lower elevation trails might need microspikes in areas while several trails above treeline still need crampons/ice axe especially as freeze/thaw cycles result in even more icy conditions. The added traction will also allow to stay on the trails to avoid erosion or damaging the flora next to heavily trafficked areas. Pack goggles, balaclava, gloves, and other winter gear. You might luck out and get a day/summit where they are not needed, but if on the other hand you get weather deteriorating on you, they are important to have. Pack the ten essentials
(although, that is true of any season) and all other necessary gear. And continue to keep an eye on the weather forecast
and backcountry conditions
in the days leading up to your excursion.
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist