Winter break – those two simple words are enough to get any high school student excited. Kids bounce off the walls during the holidays, and businesses are at their peaks supplying customers with necessities for their favorite winter pastimes. But this season seems to feel a bit different than the rest. As opposed to our usual 60-90 inches of snow, the average snowfall this year predicted by the National Weather Service is estimated to be only 43.5 inches. How is this affecting students at Moffat County High School, along with the rest of the community?
One major effect the lack of snow has caused is the way a number students and teachers have chosen to spend their free time. MCHS Junior Kimberly Schaffner describes this winter stating, “I used to hate the snow, but now that it’s gone, I realize what I’m missing. It just doesn’t feel like home anymore.” Instead of sledding down our favorite city hills, building snowmen with younger siblings, and waging war against our friends with violent arrays of snowballs, many have decided to put away their gloves and pick up their books instead. Both teachers and students alike have been upset about the ski slopes as well. Math teacher Dave Grabowski said that he paid nearly one thousand dollars for his tickets to the mountain in Steamboat Springs, but has not been able to go once all season. With the season ending in early April, this means he has less than three months to catch up on his lost time. Junior Nastassija Voyich spent her Christmas break in Steamboat skiing on Mt. Warner, but says she did not have an enjoyable time doing so. “I didn’t like it. The snow was really bad, there were rocks everywhere. There just wasn’t enough snow to have fun with.”
As well as the various personal effects this dry season has brought on, it has also altered the economies of several local and statewide businesses. As previously mentioned, Colorado’s ski slopes have experienced a significant change due to the recent weather. Many national and world renowned ski and snowboard resorts, including Mt. Warner, have been losing their annual customers. This has resulted in a sizeable loss of profits. The Moffat County Snowmobile Club has cancelled their yearly poker run scholarship opportunity due to the lack of snow. This activity gives around $700 to each selected student per year to help with college funding, but has been cancelled because of the inability to put forth the activities associated with it. The club hopes to reschedule the event sometime in February.
While there are many downfalls to the present situation this season has given us, for some, the deprivation of snow is more of a blessing than a curse. MCHS student Kaylin Boss says, “It’s probably not a good sign for 2012, but I like it. The weather is nicer, the roads are safer, and you don’t have to deal with all the usual annoyances you do with snow on the ground.” Even those unhappy with the current climate still have faith in an upcoming white winter. English teacher Lance Scranton tells us, “I think the brunt of winter is still to come. It’s all just a question of when. And when it gets here, it’s gonna be crazy!” Grabowski said, “I’m not worried about it, It’ll probably pick up after January or so. I live in Northwest Colorado. Nothing’s ever dependable here.” When it comes to the aftereffects of this winter, most say that the rest of the year will not be harmed much. Due to the flood last summer, many believe that the leftover water in the reservoirs will make up for what could be a drought this upcoming summer. Although the season has been somewhat rough for many, optimism and content still remains in the hearts of those living through the unusual seasonal changes.
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