Mercury Down: Baby it's cold outside in Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend

Mercury Down: Baby it's cold outside in Bend

The whining has begun. It's too cold. We moved here expecting a milder climate. Our real estate agent said it seldom, if ever, got this cold in Bend. My car wouldn't start. The streets haven't been cleared of snow. What'd mean there's a City ordinance that I have to shovel my sidewalks? All the flights to Phoenix are booked.
Here we are with a hint of "real" winter and with it the realization that it can get pretty cold around here come December and January.
Now if you moved here from the upper Midwest, the Rockies or New England, In that case, you're taking it in stride thinking the weather is downright tropical compared the winters you went through when you lived elsewhere.
I lived elsewhere for one year before moving to Central Oregon That winter was spent running the cross-country ski school at Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wisconsin. Cable (population 150) is located in the northwestern part of the State in what many fondly call, "The Northwoods".
That winter in Cable, it didn't get above thirty below for thirty days and above freezing for ninety days.
Cars were plugged in at night so the batteries would work the next morning and the first few miles of any drive were always done on "square" tires that would slowly come into round.
But no matter how cold it got, we taught skiing every day. Our lessons were an hour in duration, divided into two half-hour segments. We'd get people on snow for a half hour then take them back into the lodge to warm up for a half hour before going back outside and finishing the last half hour of the lesson.
When we weren't teaching skiing we patrolled the trails checking people for frostnip. The precursor to frostbite, frostnip is obvious when white spots appear on exposed parts of the face (cheeks, nose) and on the tips of the ears.
Apart from checking ski tourers for frostnip we also looked for performance skier who were going at top speed gulping in the frigid air without any thing covering their mouths.
The problem with not filtering the air with a particle mask, facemask, balaclava helmet or scarf over the mouth could result in serious lung damage.
After a full winter in Wisconsin, three of us traveled back to our home base in California. Along the way we stopped to ascend Terry Peak, South Dakota's highest point. We climbed in tee shirts in twenty-degree temperatures that felt so mild after out frigid winter.
Later we skied the Sierra backcountry around Mammoth Lakes, California thinking it was too warm even though thermometers said it was in the thirties.
Speaking of Mammoth Lakes, I ran into a former resident at the gym on day two of this cold snap. "Why, "she mused, "are people bitching about this weather. It's nothing."
True, it'll be gone soon and the whining will stop. But to be honest, after thirty-five years of winter I'm in the mood for change. And while I won't whine loudly, I will be checking on-line for cheap fares to places where shorts, a tee-shirt, flip-flops and a cocktail with an umbrella in hand in are the uniform of the day.