Salt Lake City got its first bit of real snowfall of the season this week. Flurries have come down a couple times over the past month, but this time it stuck enough for the skiers to get out and play. To me, that signifies the true start of the season.

In a way, once snow is on the ground, the cold feels much more bearable. The bite feels less jarring and a bit more cozy and fluffy, like it belongs.

I grew up on the far east outskirts of the farthest east suburb of Denver. So when winter hit, it hit us hardest. Often we would wake up to a white winter wonderland, certain that school would be called off for the day.

The thing is, Denver’s snow plow system is pretty robust, so on the night of a storm they could plow through the night and have the roads relatively safe by morning. School was rarely cancelled. But they never made it out to our neighborhood. So we were on our own.

But we were ok with that. Our quarter-mile long dirt driveway would get buried several feet deep in snowdrift and we would have to spend the day digging the whole thing out. It was hard work, but well worth it to skip school for the day.

We wouldn’t just dig out our driveway. We’d build snowmen, start fires, make hot chocolate. We’d jump off our second story deck into the snow. We’d tie a sled to the back of the jeep and try to whip each other off.

When a snow storm hits, it’s like the normal rules don’t apply anymore. It turns something as normal as the the front yard into a playground. Every time the first snowfall of the year comes, I think about those times in our prairie house in Colorado.

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