Eye on the Ball: Winter should be over in time for next year’s snow | SierraSun.com
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Eye on the Ball: Winter should be over in time for next year’s snow

James Ball

It’s nice to see winter has finally arrived in the Sierra.

This past Easter weekend, I watched the Masters tournament drooling. I grew up about two hours west of Augusta, and went to school some 45 minutes down the road from the grand old course.

I sat watching the 70-degree temperatures and pure Southern sunshine, still able to smell the dogwoods and see the Spanish moss lazily dripping from the 200-year-old oaks.

There is nothing more magnificent than the South in the spring, I thought, as I looked out my window to see the snow spitefully spitting at me, daring me to come outside and just try to enjoy what should be a nice April day.

Most of us in Truckee come from somewhere else, mostly warmer climates where there is such a thing as spring and fall, so you can understand the sense of loss I feel during these seasons.

But there is a payoff for waiting through “spring:” The Sierra Summer.

While the South sweats it out in 100-plus temperatures and 98 percent humidity, we sit comfortably on our decks in 85-degree breezes, kicking back without worries of too many flies and mosquitoes.

Given the choice of being eaten alive by Georgia mosquitoes in July or being the meatiest member of the Donner Party in February, I’d probably start packing my parka and gloves.

And, of course, there are the tornadoes. More than once each spring my family would huddle in the hallway or closet, hoping this one would pass or turn the other way. Fortunately, one never did touch down near our house, and the recent storm which killed more than 40 people passed about 50 miles south of my hometown.

Still, whenever I tell people back home I’m in Northern California now, there is always the same response: “Oh, man. Have any earthquakes lately?”

Most of these people have never experienced an earthquake, and have no understanding of it, while many of the people out here have never sat through a tornado with sirens blaring out the warning.

This disparity has led to a debate between “tornado people” and “earthquake people,” with each claiming they’d rather sit through their respective force majeure.

Well, having experienced earthquakes and tornadoes, let me set the record straight: they both suck. How ’bout that?

There’s nothing pleasant about either and I suspect the reason Californians are so nonchalant about quakes while Midwesterners and Southerners are blase about twisters has something to do with the survival instinct. Of course, they’re both quite scary experiences but, as people in the late 20th Century, we don’t like to admit to our fears; we don’t want to show a crack in the veneer.

(Bear with me, I’m getting around to the sports-related stuff.)

Which brings me back around to why the Sierra are so great.

Though we endure the midspring snowstorms, we hit paydirt with summer and the normally mild winters.

Sure, there’s headaches brought on by snow, but it’s pretty to look at until it starts to turn black and oily. Then, it sort of becomes like that guy who hangs around the high school two years after he graduated; it just needs to get a life and let spring take over.

But that doesn’t seem to be a problem this year. Every time the snow starts to melt, more starts to fall. Forgive me for the analogies, but it’s sort of like digging a hole in the desert; the more you dig, the more sand is going to slide right back in and replace it.

Course openings

For those of us who love the game of golf, the snow is just another reminder of how short the golf season really is here.

Right now, the closest course most of us can play is Northgate, just West of Reno on I-80 off Robb Drive. Green fees are fairly reasonable, something like $35 for a round.

And if you’re waiting until the Truckee area golf courses open, don’t start polishing the clubs anytime soon.

I made several calls Monday that went like this:

Me: Hi, this is Jamie from the Sierra Sun, just wondering when the golf course might be open.

Golf course proprietor: (strains of uncontrollable laughter) Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Heeeee he he he! Man, that’s a good one.

Most of them said, rather tentatively, that the courses might be open by mid-May. The Ponderosa course is optimistically shooting for the first week of May.

I think some of the guys I talked to are still laughing, wiping away the tears.

So what’s the good news about all this?

If, like me, you’re planning to purchase a newer, better set of clubs (like that will make a difference in my game), you can wait until the Truckee courses open and find the 1998 models on clearance at the sports shops.

By then it should be about time to close the courses down for winter.

Jamie Ball is the Sierra Sun sports editor.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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