Wild About Utah: Winter wonders of Utah
My name is Joey Kozlowski and I live in frosty Logan, Utah. For me, most winter days are relatively mundane. The waking hours, which lay only between rising from bed in winter darkness and returning from work in the same darkness, could be described as routine, rhythmic and rehearsed. During this time of year, it is easy for me to forget the many phenomena around me that make this place I live so unbelievably special. However, certain spontaneous occasions precipitate pause, and make me reflect and appreciate this beautiful and wild place I call home. Recently, I experienced just one of those occasions.
A few weekends ago, my wife’s family came to visit. Her sister (Charri) and sister’s friend (Juan Luis) call the central city of Celaya, Mexico home. It was Charri’s second time to Utah, and Juan Luis’ first time to Utah, and in fact, it would be his first time ever experiencing snow.
The thrill and charm of the natural beauty around them was apparent as they first got out of the car in our driveway. The piles of snow along the sidewalk and the frozen white yard seemed like novel wonders to them both. One of the first things Juan Luis said that brought me a childish smile was, “I’ve always wanted to try shoveling snow,” which I thought to myself "Go right ahead, here's the shovel!"
Our first outing was a cross country ski/snowshoe trip up Green Canyon. Charri used my MSR snowshoes and Juan Luis fit into my old Fischer XC skis, which no longer had real poles but two wooden sticks to be used as supporting tools.
With two black floppy ears bouncing around our legs, the three of us headed off up the trail. It was hard to get 50 feet without them stopping and just taking in the surrounding snow-covered cliffs, picking up fluffy white powder from the side of the trail, or even, in the case of Juan Luis, trying to capture a slow-mo video of himself jumping from the trail into the deeper snow. To them, the beauty was so apparent.
The next day, I returned from Edith Bowen Laboratory School where I work, to my home on what is locally known as “The Island,” only to be surprised by a large and perfectly formed snowman in my yard, fully formed with a carrot nose and Oreo eyes. It turns out that Charri, taken back to the excited youthfulness of a child, had spent hours that day just playing outside in the snow and building the snow creature, which would quickly lose its eyes and nose to a happy and hungry black lab once we went back inside.
That night, we all received another gift from the great outdoors, at least 12 inches of fresh snow. Juan Luis and I got up early and started shoveling. I’d never seen such an enthusiastic shoveler! It was as if each shovel scoop was filled with ice cream, not snow! He didn’t even seem annoyed when his shovel got snagged on the pesky concrete cracks that seem the bane of my existence!
Then, for the climax of their trip, we decided to go to our local ski resort, Beaver Mountain. It was the day any skier dreams of, lots of fresh powder! The awe and excitement in their eyes was present from the moment we started driving up the canyon until the moment their heads started gently nodding off on the tired ride back home.
I can’t describe all the beautiful moments of the ski trip, but I can say they truly appreciated each moment for what it was, wild and beautiful, as they struggled to board the magic carpet, laughed as they fell over and over and over again, and nearly burst at the seams with joy when they were finally able to go up the Little Beaver lift and get all the way down on a green trail.
In the end, to say these guests appreciated the beauty and excitement of everything a Utah winter has to offer would be an understatement.
So it was, on this occasion with my international family come to visit, that I was reminded of the natural beauty and wonder in all the little things that surround me each day, and that I too often take for granted. I am Joey Kozlowski, and I am Wild about the Winter Wonders of Utah.