The Great Snow Debate: A NoBo Head-to-Head Perspective

Missing the Snow

By Keith Spencer

After last year’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad winter, I never thought I’d be saying that I miss the snow this year. I actually miss those winter-like conditions that I and hundreds of thousands of other native Bostonians have come to both love and hate.

This year’s extension of autumn into December and January has packed national and regional news stories because it hardly resembles winter in New England. Boston even had its first snowless December in nearly forty years.

While parts of the Commonwealth, New Hampshire, and Vermont received storms through out the winter, the metro areas surrounding Boston and into the NoBo have yet to receive a beautiful blanket of white to cover the ugly mess left behind by a timely changing of seasons this fall.

Without a doubt, I’m glad that this winter is mild compared to last year or this year’s worst winter the residents of Alaska can remember. There, snow has piled so high people can’t see their homes!

Many do not wish to recall last winter, but think back to the others of your past, including those special days as a child, when snow arrived, leaving a swath of white that seemed to uplift your spirit. What native Bostonian didn’t wake up early to check cancellations, build a snow fort, or walk with their friends to go sledding down the local hill?

Spending my first winter living in Saugus, I had hoped to be able to build a snowman in the front yard. I was looking forward to photographing my neighborhood in its altered state, draped in soft, downy flakes.

Yes. Walkways have to be shoveled. Snow removed from cars. Parking becomes a premium in many of the NoBo gateway communities. As a former resident of Everett, I’d rather not recall many of the days I fought for my parking spot I spent hours shoveling. Literally

The plows. The ski resorts. The outdoor, winter recreation areas. You may argue that they made out like bandits last year, but they are all hurting at a time when many small businesses can’t afford weeks of unseasonable conditions, never mind months.

Yet it all boils down to that feeling that brings me back to a simpler time, a carefree time that I remember fondly. As the great poet Robert Frost once said, “You can’t get too much winter in the winter.”


Let it snow… somewhere else!

By Matt Laidlaw

There is something nice about the first snowfall – it’s that charming New England look, the classic one horse open sleigh feeling, the bundle up and hunker down for the night and get ready for a reenactment of the Big One of ’78.  That’s always nice for the first snowfall.  I, for one, feel that there’s nothing wrong with skipping a season and enjoying a milder winter.

The weatherman on the local news gave a projection of possible record setting warmer temperatures at the end of January and I welcome the heat wave like having this year’s Denver Broncos as a playoff opponent.  It’s just nice knowing there’s no big weather event on the horizon.

My real disgust of the snow came about 20 years ago when I attempted skiing with friends.  As open-minded of the sport as I was, I tried, without success to launch myself off the rope tow.  One can imagine me, this six-foot, twenty-one year old getting yelled at by six and seven-year olds zipping past me.

I called it quits after my ninth battle with the bunny trail.  I successfully made it up the hill, holding on to the rope and my poles, however, my failure to let go of the rope as I fell at the top of the hill resulted in me being the only person to ever actually pull the plug out of the machine.

At least the six and seven-year olds don’t swear at you.  I did my fifteen second run, slammed myself into the ski rack (to stop of course,) unlatched my skis and proceeded to the lodge for a cold one.

There’s my other logical and economic reasons for not affiliating with the white stuff: spend less on gas for the snow-blower, no need to run the heat in the house all day and pull out every single blanket to keep warm, or spend a fortune on de-icer and sidewalk salt.

There’s my social interaction reasons: no need to fight for parking spaces, leap over snow piles to get across the street, battle for position on snow packed city streets or fight over the last loaf of bread, gallon of skim milk or the creamed corn.

Ok, maybe I was the victim of constant collapsing snow fort design, the only kid who couldn’t complete the sled run without crashing into the bushes, or my inability to perfect a devastating snowball.

Even as an adult, I’m the guy who slips on the ice in front of front office window, the one who now strains a rotator cuff while throwing a snowball, even my snow angels look more like gargoyles. I’ve lived my entire life in the Northeast, so I don’t know any different but I do know that I’m not a fan of the snow.

I like the winter.  The ice-cold days, taking a brisk walk in the icy, windy air. makes you appreciate the sunny days at the beach, or relaxing by the pool.  At the end of the day, there’s also something nice about enduring a mild winter. It’s almost like we pulled a fast one on mother nature or dodged old man winter’s grasp.  By March, when we can breathe that big sigh of relief, we can look forward to the lazy days of summer.

At the end of the day… not having to break out the thermal underwear really won’t be a bad thing.

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