John F. Russell: Newfound appreciation for winter

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John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

— Glancing at the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area this week, you can understand why some skiers were disappointed this season.

The ski season came to a close last Sunday, and I can’t say I was all that crushed to see it exit. I’ve been looking forward to summer since the snow in my yard vanished several weeks ago. I’m sure I will regret it a few weeks from now when everything starts to dry out, but right now, it is kind of nice.

Looking back on the 2011-12 season, I can’t help but realize that I came to appreciate what happened this winter, and I can say that it will change my approach to skiing in the future.

I will never take another powder day, snowmaking or my rock skis for granted again — never.

This winter, I learned to appreciate that joy can come from cruising down groomers for an entire day. I also realize that there is more to skiing than racing through soft moguls or ripping down that unmarked run that most skiers would mistake for just another stand of Aspen trees.

Hopefully, next winter will be filled with more snow and more smiles from those of us who enjoy the sport of skiing.

Until then, I plan to spend my days enjoying everything Steamboat Springs has to offer in the summer months.

Hopefully, I will have a chance to get back on a softball field or spend more than a few hours on the sidelines of a youth soccer field watching my daughter play.

Hopefully, I will be able to make more than a few treks into the wilderness along the hiking trails of Northwest Colorado or spend a day in search of a cool mountain lake or a fast-moving stream with a fishing pole in hand.

This winter, I leaned that you can’t always control the weather — you can’t even plan on it.

There are times that you simply have to make the best of what Mother Nature has to offer.

There will be days when she will rain out your softball game or shorten a round of golf with an afternoon thunderstorm.

But on other days, she will amaze us with her beauty and make us all realize what it means to live in the mountains of Colorado and appreciate the fact that we are lucky enough to live in a place like Steamboat Springs.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with the weather this past winter — thank goodness for February — but I’m also optimistic about next year and understand that this winter was a simple reminder that you can never take the good years for granted.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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