Chasing Winter

A Fast Exit Requires Pursuit

Story and Photos by Michael Stubbs

It was February, and snow was hard to find—in Pocatello, anyway. Two weeks of temperatures in the fifties and sixties had stolen the white from the schoolyard and mountains and convinced my kids it was time for shorts.

But I was not convinced, and neither was my wife, Wendy. We shared our view with our three kids one evening and made a plan to find snow on President’s Day. We were going to put away our shorts and retrieve our sweaters and fleece. We were going to the woods. We were going to cross country ski. The kids agreed. When the day came, we packed the car with skis, boots, coats, kids, sled, and headed north in an attempt to recover winter and to make good use of the Idaho Park N’ Ski Pass we had purchased at the beginning of what looked like a promising season.

We left Pocatello around nine that morning. The sky was clear blue, and the sun a weak ball of white beyond the hills. Our ten-year-old son, Ian, and seven-year-old daughter, Eliza, were skeptical but hopeful on our journey along the gray of the highway while our two-year old son, Finn, chattered away excitedly, simply glad to be out of the house for any reason. The abundant yellow grass on hillside and roadside did not convince anyone that snow existed out there, but I had checked with friends and government agencies online before we left. I knew there was snow where we were going, even though I had to keep turning down the temperature on the car’s heater as that weak ball of white brightened to fill the sky and as the fields we passed turned greener and greener.

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