Twenty Januarys ago, the flat monotony of I-80 delivered us to the foothills of the Wasatch Range of the Utah Rockies and the threshold of the Big Cottonwood Canyon. As Dad eased to a stop at the intersection leading to the canyon road, we saw a disheartening sign spray-painted on the face of a rock. Tall red letters issued a desperate plea: Pray for snow.
Those were the days before weather.com and the Weather Channel’s easily accessible ten-day forecasts and tales of doom. It was winter. In the mountains. Of course there would be snow.
There was. Sort of.
The slopes were white, but pocked by bare patches. I don’t know if any of us actually prayed for snow, but we hoped. Conditions were bad. We were there to ski, so we pulled out our gear, bought our lift-tickets, and slid into the lift-line. It was worse than it looked from the parking lot. The white was ice, not snow, and some of the bare patches were terror-inducing exposed rock.
We’d come to ski, but we’d also come to be together, a challenge for our family with three of the six of us in two different colleges. Time together–on the lifts, on the slopes, and in the lodge–was the main event. We would survive poor conditions.
On the evening of the first day, snow began to fall, storybook snow with fluffy flakes that floated straight down and cloaked the land in silence. A teacher from my elementary years had dashed our class’s hopes when a similar snow swirled by saying, “Flakes like this won’t last long.” Maybe not in Iowa.
They lasted in Utah and transformed the mountain. The lift-ride enveloped us in a world of dancing flakes that perched on our hats, coats, and ski-pants and clung to our eyelashes. Snow piled up, erasing the bare spots, the ice, and the rocks. It breathed life into the lift operators who laughed and visited with us as we waited for them to disperse the accumulating snow with a vigorous thwack from their cut-off brooms.
We skied until the lifts shut down and woke the next morning to the muffled stillness of falling snow–stillness broken occasionally by shots from the avalanche cannon. Our lodge, just twenty-five yards from the main lift, gave us immediate access to the slopes. Despite protests from our weary bodies, we dragged ourselves from our bunks and clomped our booted way down the stairs to finish waking up with hot cider by the fire.
Monika, the usually matter-of-fact German manager of the lodge, buoyantly informed us that the canyon road was closed due to avalanche risk but the mountain was open to the handful of us at the top. We donned our skis, climbed the little hill to the pine-lined path, pushed ourselves across the flat to the lift, and rode to the top. The powder was perfect.
Snow fell for four days. Avalanche danger kept the road closed every morning and the afternoon crowd added few to our number, so we spent four line-less days frolicking in the ever-deepening powder. We skied past pine boughs hung heavy with snow and moved to a lift further up the mountain, where the best skiers in the family cut and carved, throwing snow as they hopped around the moguls.
When the veil of snow finally lifted, five new feet of powder covered the mountain. We had hoped for snow, but not for so much. We wouldn’t have thought to hope for so much. It was beyond what we could imagine.
Twenty Januarys ago those five feet of snow were a delightful answer to a discouraged wish. Today they reside in my review mirror– a clear picture of what more than I could ask or imagine looks like. All I have to do is glance up.
Linking today’s story with Michelle, Laura, Jennifer, Lyli, Rosalind and Barbie at The Weekend Brew.
Thank you! This is why I smiled when the prayer email came through with this verse – I had this all scheduled and ready to go out. It was fun to see this verse at that time from another source. Thanks for your encouragement.
Beautiful pictures! I so love snow, and your gift for story is wonderfully evident here. I miss skiing myself, having not been since before my daughter was born! But snow always makes me think of God…of all that falls from the sky, snow just inspires awe. 😉
Snow is a beautiful gift, one that does inspire awe. Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. Natalie
Natalie, I had to smile when you ended by pointing us to that sweet promise at the end of Ephesians 3. I actually picked that verse for my weekend post just a few days ago…. it’s been sitting in my heart all week, and here you gave me a big AMEN with your glorious snow. I’m quick to forget how God has come through in the past, but tonight, you made me remember. Thanks for that.
So glad you linked up with Thought-Provoking Thursday! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Lyli. I’m glad this gave you a big AMEN. Oh, how easily I forget. I’m so thankful for the reminders that God gives in all kinds of places.
Lyli, I did a lot of smiling myself last week because I kept seeing references to Eph 3:20 after I wrote the post but before I posted it. It was fun and encouraging. Your “big AMEN” brought a big smile to my face when I read your comment. Thanks for taking the time and for hosting Thoughtful Thursdays. There’s great reading to be done there.
Wow. I can’t imagine that much snow (I live in Alabama). 🙂 Sounds delightful, although quite cold. I love your analogy of looking up when we want to envision what more than we imagine looks like. Beautiful.
Somehow it never seems as cold when the snow is falling. So glad you stopped by!
You painted a picture with your words, which makes me kinda love you already. I can’t relate to skiing, or much snow, but I can relate to what it means to receive more than we can ask or even think. What a mighty God we serve. Thanks for sharing this uplifting story.
I found you over at Lyli’s blog series, where you and I are neighbors.
Your words this morning brought a smile to my face. Thank you for encouraging me and for your presence here today. What a blessing both are.
I LOVED reading this post! So heart-warming and such a wonderful example of Ephesians 3:20. God is able to do exceeding abundantly ABOVE all we can ask or even think! Praise His name! So happy you stopped by my blog today, so I could come here to yours and meet you! I leave feeling blessed by your words. God’s peace be with you continually. Love, Cheryl
Thanks for the encouraging words and your presence here today. I’m so glad that you were blessed – and that we were able to meet on one another’s blogs. Blessings to you today.
This resonates with me. This year we had to wait for snow until the 10th of January. I bet there were plenty of prayers for snow. Yes, we need to look up when we have any kind of problems. Trusting Him with our problems makes all the difference. Thank you for sharing. Abundant blessings!
January 10 is a long wait. Maybe we got your snow this year. Both the intense cold and snow came early to Iowa. Whatever your weather this season, I hope that you are able to enjoy it. Thank you for taking the time share with me. Blessings to you today.
I love this Natalie. You took me back to years of snow skiing and how it feels still and the beauty is beyond measured words. I haven’t been in snow or on ski’s for years. What a wonderful story, so glad you shared it. It’s given me hope for my own journey this morning. I’m grateful.
Oh, thank you for those kind and encouraging words. It’s my prayer that someone will come away from one of my stories with hope for their journey and I always feel blessed to know that someone has. You offer the same to me. It’s a privilege to be able to encourage one another.