Ski Bum Advice: Winter, Oh, How I Have Missed You

I have stashed the golf clubs in the dusty nether-regions of the garage, shoved my wet boardshorts in a far back drawer, and have begun to grow my winter beard. Well, maybe not the last one since my significant other despises my feeble attempt to look like one of the dudes from Duck Dynasty, or a pitcher from the Yankees. So be it. The long, warm days of summer are now in the rear view mirror, and the ever-dwindling rays of the fall sun tend to remind me of what we all live for once the weather changes. Old man winter is patiently waiting to grace us once again with his presence, and for that I am thankful. Many may dread his return, but here are my top reasons to embrace a return to cold weather.

1) Yard Work. Like many folks, I take a certain amount of pride in making my lawn pop during the summer. Come late September, though, I have had about enough of mowing, trimming, edging, and fertilizing. Throw in the endless combat I take part in with piles of dog poop, sprinklers that won’t sprinkle, and a testy mower—it is of little wonder I beg for the snow gods to drop the hammer and end such foolishness. Once the thermometer drops, the lawn stops growing, the doggie land mines freeze solid, and the mower goes into hibernation, plotting its revenge for next spring.

2) Swamp Butt. Nothing makes me more ready for winter than sitting in my car on a hot July day and feeling a warm trickle of sweat running down the center of my ample backside. For far too many days this past summer, I was too afraid to stop at the store on my way home from work for cold adult beverages. I feared the laughter that was sure to come my way from the people behind me in the checkout line, snickering at the racing stripe down the back of my slacks.

3) Over-heating Car. I drive a twenty-year-old Subaru that burns oil, smokes, has over 275,000 miles, and tends to run a little hot once the temps go above 90. Can’t imagine why. When it does, I have no other choice than to turn the heat up high, rolls down the windows, and drive much faster than I should. Doing so increases my intake of engine and wildfire smoke, allows me to hear other drivers yelling about my funeral pyre of a vehicle, and exacerbates the already bad case of swamp butt noted above.

4) Constant Stream of Visitors. I am lucky enough to live on the water outside of town, and typically enjoy having friends and family out to visit—at least the ones that are invited. But after 10 weekends in a row of houseguests and drop-in visitors, I am ready for the roads to get a little nasty and give folks an excuse to not make the trek out to the sticks. Plus, I really don’t like to be mindful of my lack of personal hygiene on the weekends.
5) Pine Needles. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time during the summer keeping our local “leaves” off of my deck, yard, driveway, and roof. I’ve tried leaf blowers, rakes, and even a consumer-grade flamethrower. Note to self: Wearing flip-flops while improperly using a flamethrower might dramatically reduce the amount of hair on one’s legs. Just saying. //


Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, and ski bum. He is looking forward to winter and the hair on his legs growing back.


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