The snowstorm wasn't supposed to muscle this far north; the northern Adirondacks were only expected to get 1 to 3 inches. Nevertheless, we got walloped Wednesday, but we apparently were ready for it.
The snow didn't stop dumping down for at least 24 hours, but village, town and state plowing crews kept scraping it off local roads, over and over. They deserve major thanks for their hard and good work, which along with smart driving by motorists resulted in relatively few crashes and collisions - just six reported as of Thursday morning, none of them severe.
Village crews are still at it, excavating sidewalks. In Saranac Lake, which got the most snow of the Tri-Lakes villages, the Department of Public Works had mostly taken care of downtown as of Thursday afternoon, attacking the snow with truck plows, sidewalk plows and hand-shoveling. Neighborhoods are next. After that, their next task will be scooping mountains of snow off the curbs.
In addition to being grateful to professional plowers, local residents can help their neighbors by shoveling the snow on their sidewalks, if they have them, and making sure mail carriers can get to mailboxes easily. We noticed many people have done that already, and we thank them. Many hands make lighter work, and help make it so pedestrians don't have to endanger themselves by walking in the streets.
Saranac Lake received at least 16 to 18 inches, and Tupper Lake and Lake Placid got about 10 to 12 inches each. The banks of plowed and shoveled snow tower above human height. After getting so little snow over the last two months, this is a pretty intense reminder of what winter is all about.
It's a wonderful reminder, too. Walking home Wednesday night was gorgeous, with streetlights illuminating the constant flakes and the mounds of unbroken snow. With temperatures comfortably remaining in the teens, it has been beautiful to be outside in the winter air, with the snowbanks dampening sound and giving a sense of serenity.
As for the opposite of serenity, it's great weather for getting the blood pumping shoveling snow or, more enjoyably, skiing, sledding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Since non-Adirondackers love to come here to do those things, it's a great time for tourism, and for telling the world that we have snow to spare, so come up and revel in it.
And on that note, we'll close by saying we are absolutely thrilled Big Tupper Ski Area will finally open for the season on Saturday. The local volunteers have worked so hard and so well, it was painful to watch the new year's weekend thaw melt the snow out from under them. But while Mother Nature takes away, she also gives, and Wednesday's snow was a blessing. The snow dance apparently worked.
Now, everyone, go Ski Big Tupper! It's a great mountain, and at $15 a day, you can't beat the value.