In the winter of 2010–2011, over 60 inches of snow fell in Boston. The storms started just after Christmas, and then we got something like 2 feet every other week. It didn’t cripple the region though, not that I can remember, but it was bizarre. When anyone crossed a street, they’d have to peer around a snowpile to make sure a car wasn’t coming. Same with merging onto a highway, terrifyingly. When it finally melted, Christmas trees that had been left out for the garbage service emerged, and everywhere smelled like pine.
How quickly some people forget. This season, the winter started very mild. A few dustings here and there that would melt the next day. The media went off the hook with coverage of a blizzard that dumped a mere four inches on Boston. Even so, people bought into the terms “snowpocalypse” and “snowmaggedon,” as if it had never snowed in New England before.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl, and that should have dominated the news for awhile. But then it really snowed. And kept on snowing. The MBTA got messed up big time. We got over 90 inches of snow in just three weeks. Seems like an expression such as snowpocalypse would be apt. But since that was wasted on some nothing storm, I’m trying out the Boston Massnowcre. Weak, maybe. Boston Snowathon? Boston Snow Pie? …No.
This has certainly been a slow, white natural disaster. I don’t want to deny that. I feel terribly for those whose roofs have collapsed, and whose live-lihoods have been compromised. But this winter has also been magnificent. Difficult times bring out creativity. Someone made an igloo and put it on AirBnB! How can one’s inner child be completely repressed when there is such irreverent joy as this?
In Somerville, a yeti tweeted pictures of his antics. Over at MIT, there was a snowpile so big (the most generous estimate was at 5 stories) that it’d been nicknamed The Alps of MIT. The police have tried to secure it off, but no doubt wily students engineered a way around it. Trip Advisor even has it as an attraction for now. A self-starting graphic design student made fake T passes to brighten the days of those around her. The Wall from Game of Thrones sprung up near Harvard Square.
A structure with a little more planning, and a little more north, is the Ice Castle in New Hampshire. Giant ice stalagmites were created and lit up from the inside. Icicles hung benignly overhead. A slide inside one of the formations emerged to a small crowd of curious onlookers. There was more to the park, such as a fountain in a cavern and a scavenger hunt, but I was satisfied with its simple beauty.
And this year’s snow has made for some excellent skiing. I’m still a beginner, but I can appreciate gliding through fine white butter. For people who prefer to hide indoors, it’s been just as nice putting on some flannel PJs, cozying up under a blanket, and sipping hot chocolate.
The snow is melting, and our fingers are all crossed for minimal flooding. While we still have 2 inches to go from breaking a record, this winter surely won’t be forgotten anytime soon. At least, with any luck, not by the media, who I hope never exaggerate a snowstorm again.
Edited to add: The record was broken with a total of 108.6 inches.