H. Neal Glanville: Snow snakes out of the dent
February 28, 2011
During the winters my family and I spent working on the ski resort/dude ranch, I was either in the ski rental shop or finding reason to be on the ski hill.
It should be noted here that ski-aholics, like other addicts, are very inventive in their reasoning for a fix.
I invented the dreaded snow snake, the scientific name of which is fallus downus, which for reasons I can't recall lived just inside the tree-line and only ventured on the open slopes when there was enough ski traffic to warm the hill and warrant a wiggle out in the open.
Although harmless to most humans and small cats, this forked tongue little devil would strike at any ski coming close to his spot, causing the skier to crash for no apparent reason.
If the skier left a buttock dent in the snow, it would immediately become home to a bevy of the little squirmiers.
This became such a problem, I announced it on the Southern Wyoming radio stations. I had an art class from the community college design posters we could place on top of all our ski runs as a visual warning and even offered a reward to any skier who brought one down the hill, dead or alive.
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Of course at the slightest hint of a sighting, I was on the hill patrolling, keeping my hill safe from the little beggars.
After a bit, some of the small-minded management people thought the snow snake was a figment of my imagination and suggested a halt to the patrols.
Not wanting my ski hill to become known as a snow snake haven, I suggested a member of management come on one patrol with me before shutting down the patrols completely.
As life will have it, the alpha female management member jumped at the chance to put me in my place, wherever that was.
Not wishing to say anything bad about the woman who took it upon herself to disprove the existence of snow snakes, I will recall her nickname and let you decide.
The afternoon Barbara "the U-Haul Trailer" of the snowplow turns and I went up the ski hill, all eyes were upon us.
Somehow during the ride up the hill, my smarty attitude got the best of her and she agreed if she fell even once due to snakes or not, I could patrol the hill twice a day.
When we reached the top, I let Mrs. U-Haul Trailer pick the run we'd take and off we went. I'd really like to say we gently glided down the ski hill, but I can't.
I went through the moguls (bumps) like Stein Erickson, complete with forward flip at the end. Mrs. Trailer skirted the edge and fell twice.
Unseen by the snow snake appreciators at the bottom of the hill, I graciously allowed her the handicap and we ventured on down.
As we swung into sight of the lodge, I decided to pick up speed and skied across the frozen beaver pond directly in front of the lodge.
When I stopped to watch my snow snake privileges come down the hill, I swear I saw movement in the frozen willows next to the beaver pond.
As she made the gentle right turn to come to a stop, her snowplow turn blew up and she crashed.
It's not for me to say how bad her crash was, though it took two winters to get the snow snakes out of her dent.
Hey, you be careful out there and stay to the light.