CSI: Yellowstone

I spend so much time thinking about the complex scientific properties of snow, marveling at its viscoelasticity and ability to conduct and insulate, pausing occasionally to enjoy a perfect (or even less-than-perfect) ski run. What I don’t take enough time to appreciate is the way snow can tell a story.

It’s just after 2:00 pm on New Year’s Day, and Bix and I are cross-country skiing into a thicket of trees in the Gneiss Creek drainage, about two miles from the Yellowstone National Park boundary. Nighttime temperatures have been dipping below -20oF, but now, just after solar noon, the sun bounces off untouched snow to warm our faces, still tender with windburn from yesterday’s outing.

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Frostbite: Putting the “F” in NFA.

Sheep Mountain Airport is NFA when it comes to cold temperatures. This screenshot of tonight's weather absolutely does not do justice to how damn cold it was out there.
The Interior is NFA when it comes to cold temperatures. This screenshot of tonight’s weather absolutely does not do justice to how damn cold it was out there.

For the better part of my childhood (and by childhood, I mean age five or so to the present day), anytime I was cold for more than about an hour, I absolutely insisted I was being frostbitten. Despite my tendency toward melodrama, I have always enjoyed cold weather activities, even the ones I suspected might result in frostbite.

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