Have you figured out where to put all that snow from your driveway by now? Maybe a few more days for the back to recover too? I am sure it will take some of us a little longer to finish digging because we shovel and blow some snow and then go track up some snow. I think we must have gotten close to three weeks straight with fresh pow every day!
It must have been two autumns ago I did an article about the “Off season zombies.” This described a semi catatonic state brought on by the fact that we were in a rather prolonged period stuck between the two seasons where it became very difficult to do anything outside.
Well now we have a whole new set of zombie like faces wondering around town. I know you have seen them. Eyes kind of wide open, mouth open making sort of an ooh shape. They may be walking or driving, they may be at work or even in the parking lot of their favorite ski resort. Many are definitely spotted in their driveways; shovel in hand, that ooh look on their faces.
This zombie state has of course been brought on by the sheer volume of snow. For many of us, this is how winter should be. Snow going up past the windows, driveways just wide enough to get the cars in, no neighbor houses in view, ride anywhere on the mountain your little pounding heart desires! And of course another big red “L” off the coast on the weather map.
Many of the current crop of winter zombies are fairly new to the area, no doubt some are here for their first winter, some may even be in third fourth or fifth season. Experiencing the sheer volume of snow on the ground that we have right now will cause some people to have this reaction. I found myself making that very face as I pulled into the post office parking lot and realized the snow was piled up perhaps twelve to fifteen feet high. I have been here long enough to know, but my near zombie face was a reaction to such a beautiful thing, piles of snow that large everywhere, and it happened so quickly.
The true zombie face is more shock than elation combined with shoveling fatigue, but there can also be a large amount of “I just had the sickest powder day ever bliss/ fatigue mixed in there. The ooh face will be very noticeable. The difference will often show if you see this individual walking.
The winter zombie that you see walking along, legs moving normally but in a rather hunched over position has not been on the mountain, but has been doing large amounts of shoveling and or snow blowing. For this person there has been a large physical toll just in trying to keep up with snow removal at home. But if they haven’t been out to play in it, whether that was hucking huge cliffs or going out on snowshoes and throwing snowballs for fido, there will also be immense mental toll. When you add both of those together there is just shock at this amount of snow and the ooh face gets rather deeply set!
Then there is of course the one with the hunched over position, the ooh face and not walking very well either. This individual has been burning the candle at both ends. Shoveling or snow blowing frantically, often not quite finishing the job very well, and then running off to play in it! This will definitely take a huge physical toll. But mentally, oh yeah, mentally things are very different. This individual will often still display that winter zombie ooh face but there is a subtle difference. This ooh face is one we sometimes refer to as the blow up doll face. Behind this face there lies great physical toll, definitely to the point of discomfort. But mentally there is elation.
Besides the common element of physical abuse there is of course shock. Nobody expected this. Some had even given up any hope of a real winter this year. This shock element will cause the ooh face by itself. This though usually happens only to those who are arriving in the basin and are just driving around for the first time since this storm cycle started. This is such an innocent and non abused ooh face. From a distance this look will resemble the other types but it hasn’t reached that true winter zombie state yet.
These faces can get very serious and could cause serious long lasting damage to the smile muscles. Intervention may be the only hope for the suffering muscles in the ooh faces. This is a type of intervention though that only Mother Nature can provide. This would be in the form of a short break in the storm cycle. Some blue skies for a few days. Let them get caught up with that shovel or snowblower.
But then again, this is how winter should be right? Those ooh faces might just have to wait until May to go away. Intervention? How about some more powder turns.