Went snowshoeing a few days ago with Donna Marie, my dear friend who recently moved from Texas to the wild Western Slope of Colorado. She’s an old hand at the healthy winter exercise of walking on snow and I’m a beginner. To reach enough snow, she guided her trusty Honda Pilot through hairpin curves as we ascended the southern flanks of Grand Mesa–the world’s largest flattop mountain with elevations as high as 11,300 feet.
It snowed lightly all the way up the mountain and it was snowing hard by the time we had donned our snowshoes (technically, she Donna’ed hers and I Donned mine). Undaunted, we set out and had trekked less than a mile when the surrounding topography more or less disappeared. Fog and blowing snow soon enveloped us.
Turning around, we made it back to the trail-head only to find the forlorn Honda coated with a thick blanket of wind-driven snow. After removing our snowshoes and carving the car out of its snowy cocoon, we headed down and met the snowplow coming up.
As we descended 5,000 feet to the Surface Creek Valley below and, while snow continued to fall, we had ample time to discuss whether or not we had been in a blizzard. Donna Marie’s Texan logic said ‘no’ because, though pelted with giant snow flakes up on the mountain, we could still see our hands in front of our faces. I maintained that she was describing a ‘white-out’ which I declared was quite different from a blizzard.
It was our first fight.
But we resolved it by creating the following helpful guide for anyone from low-land country who might happen to find themselves on a mountain in the Colorado snow.
If you’re from texas, how can you tell if you’re in a blizzard?
If your Stetson used to be on your head and now it’s twenty feet away and stuck way up in a pine tree…y’all may be in a blizzard.
If it’s snowing sideways and the wind is howling and the wolves are howling…y’all may be in a blizzard.
If your face is covered with snow and you can’t see yourself, but your companion says you look like the Pillsbury Dough-boy on a bad day…y’all may be in a blizzard.
If you’re leaning forward on a snowy day and you’re not getting anywhere…y’all may be in a blizzard.
If you turn around and the wind catches you and you arrive back at the car two hours before you left…y’all may be in a blizzard.
If you began the day in a red outfit and now you are red and white and blue in the face…y’all may be in a blizzard.
If you’re on skis on a flat expanse of snow and the wind is at your back and you’re going 45 miles per hour…y’all may be in a blizzard.