I'm back in Bonita Springs after a wonderful, long, winter vacation. The first vacation stop for me was my folks' place in Asheville, North Carolina. We did lots of talking and walking in the Appalachian Mountains, and I got to catch up with my sister and her adorable 5 and 3 year old nieces. It seemed plenty chilly there, with frost every morning and some light snow that didn't stick.
Of course, that chill was nothing compared to the next stop, at Rhonda's folks' place in Hudson, New Hampshire. There was a decent layer of crusty old snow on the ground when I arrived, and it was soon complemented by a foot of fluffy new stuff. The kind of snow you get when it's far below freezing is sure different from the typical Washington State "mashed potatoes" snow I remember from childhood. For one thing, it doesn't consistently stick to trees, roofs, or deck railings, so you can't easily tell how deep it is on the ground. For another thing, it makes funny squeaky noises when you pack it down by walking or driving over it.
Two sets of my old cross-country skis were conveniently stored in Rhonda's mom's attic, and I was delighted to be able to use them to explore the woods and parks around Hudson with my future stepfather in law. One pair of the skis was the typical long, skinny xc style, with "New Nordic Norm" boots and bindings. The other pair was a bit wider and shorter with metal rails and "New Nordic Norm BC" boots and bindings. I definitely prefer the latter for making new tracks and for woods trails with lots of ups and downs and turns.
I had planned to do some downhill skiing / snowboarding with my future brother-in-law but we called that off because the forecast HIGH for the mountain that day was below zero F and I didn't have the gear to not get frostbite in such cold. I still got my board out of the garage and walked it up Rhonda's grandma's hill a few times for the heck of it. The effort / payoff ratio of that activity reminded me a lot of SUP wave riding. The thrills by themselves don't quite outweigh the effort, but when you add in the exercise endorphins and the outdoor nature zen, it's a win.