Grasshopper Soup: Sierra storms could be worse | SierraSun.com

Grasshopper Soup: Sierra storms could be worse

Bob Sweigert
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; We eagerly crave the fantastic snow storms that come our way, especially this year when they have been so few and far between. We welcome the white gold in spite of the problems such wild storms can heap upon us, while our friends to the east are about to get a much different taste of what we just experienced.

Like most storms that make life in paradise so great, the storm last weekend will most likely hit warm air over the plains and stir up deadly tornadoes. It will be no surprise to hear reports of death and total destruction and ruined lives as a result of the same awesome power of nature that we welcomed with open arms.

Perhaps thatand#8217;s just a little too heavy to ponder, especially when, for most of us, the worse that can happen during a good storm is that we have to go to work when we would rather be skiing or snowboarding.

I ran this good storm/bad storm idea by a friend of mine, a Tahoe City man in his early to mid-twenties. He agreed it was a heavy concept to lay on him, and said he didnand#8217;t know what to think about the fact that the storms we welcome stir up tornadoes and kill people, but laughed and said he would nonetheless ponder it for the rest of the day and mention it to his room mates and friends after work. I just hope he doesnand#8217;t ponder it so much it distracts him from what he is doing and gets him hurt on the job.

Hopefully, all we have to worry about is what to do with a golf course and pesky bears.

As millions of people all over the world this week ponder the unjust condemnation of an innocent man, and cling to the hope of life after death, more suffering and tragedy may again be inflicted on other innocent victims who just happen to live in the middle of Tornado Alley.

No one in Kansas will be carrying a snowboard or skis to the slopes with a big fat, powder-eating grin. There will be no one in Oklahoma, or wherever the twisters hit, sitting in the sun on the patio sipping a beer and telling stories with friends in the afterglow of a day spent burning turns down Classic Chute or Idiotand#8217;s Delight.

We reap the benefits of storms that contribute to tragedy in the Midwest.

Unfortunately, I canand#8217;t give you a first hand report of the skiing or snowboarding these last few days. Regretfully, I had no experience of it, or of any skiing at all this year.

One report about conditions on the slopes last weekend was that most of the steep and deep, highly sought after expert runs slid, leaving nothing but old layers of ice and hard pack snow. Avalanche conditions certainly must have been high, but there still had to be some incredible skiing as a result of this last storm, and there probably still is. The snow I shoveled last Saturday was some of the lightest, fluffiest champagne powder Iand#8217;ve ever seen in the 30 years Iand#8217;ve lived in Tahoe. It was a pleasure to shovel.

No one I talked to had any horror stories to tell about the storm. The most serious one I heard was from a friend who said he would have never ended up stuck in traffic Sunday morning if he hadnand#8217;t had to stop for gas. Traffic was so bad he turned around and went home instead of going skiing that day.

He had fallen ill at deathand#8217;s door once already years ago and managed to beat the odds. Fortunately he is still with us and enjoying Lake Tahoe and the mountains, with more stamina on the slopes at 60 years old than his fourteen year old nephew.

We have it pretty good when skipping skiing is no big loss, and as easy as turning around and driving a few miles home.

At least we donand#8217;t have to outrun tornadoes.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.