Ryan Trares: Warm January is snow fun

Every time we walk into our garage, the grinning, circular snowman face mocks us.

Just looking at it brings to mind raucous afternoons, zooming down a frozen hill on its inflated rubber surface. But already three weeks into January, we’re no closer to realizing those wintertime daydreams.

Anthony ran into his grandparents’ living room on Christmas morning to find the Bigmouth Silly Snowman Snow Tube waiting for him. Among the toys and new pajamas and Nerf guns, he gravitated right to it, joy in his eyes as he imagined the snowy tumbles he’d take on it.

Sledding has become one of Anthony’s favorite activities. Despite his trepidation the first time we glided down the small hill by our home, he quickly grew attached to the adrenaline rush of launching, gaining speed, and ultimately crashing at the bottom.

The first year he discovered it, we were able to go out three or four times. Every time it snowed — even just a dusting on the grass — he asked impatiently if we could go out to sled.

But in recent years, our opportunities for snow-based fun have become so scarce we might as well be living in the tropics. Last year brought one solid snowstorm, which we took advantage of until the crisp white snow became a muddy track on the sledding hill.

This year has been even worse. The little snow we have had hasn’t stuck around long enough to be useful —at least in sledding terms.

I don’t want to give the wrong idea here. Snow is about my least favorite weather that we can have. I despise driving in it, as it grinds already frustrating driving to a maddening slow pace. The salt-ringed puddles of slush that result from every step inside drive me crazy. Dirty, gray piles of snow tend to hang around way too long into the spring.

But even I’ll admit: an unbroken field of soft white powder, particularly gently sloping down a hill, turns me into a little kid again. When I was growing up in Perrysburg, Ohio, we had a small hill in our backyard that was perfect for spending hours gliding down.

As I grew older, we graduated to Ft. Meigs, a War of 1812-era historical site that just happened to have a massive sledding run free of trees and other potential dangers. When the weather canceled school for the day, you could count on most of the town’s kids meeting on the hillside, tumbling down over and over until our extremities were wet and numb. Still, it was a highlight of the year.

Anthony hasn’t had a chance to experience anything like that.

But I’ve got a good feeling about the coming weeks. I envision a blustery snowstorm hitting on a Friday evening, once everyone is home from work and school, and the snow continuing on all night long.

I picture waking up to a winter wonderland, and Anthony frenetically pulling out his snowpants, gloves, hat, boots and heavy coat, shouting at me to get ready faster.

And I see him zooming down a hill on his Silly Snowman Snow Tube, with a smile as bright as the white landscape around us.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]