It was the best of times... It was the worst of times 

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"Sometimes you eat the b'ar and sometimes... well, he eats you."

– The Stranger

"Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug."

– Mark Knopfler

"Stuff happens."

– Donald Rumsfeld

Yeah, and sometimes it doesn't. But the b'ar still eats you after you've hit the windshield. Kinda feels like that right now.

One of the truisms of life, if you slide on snowy slopes, is sooner or later, you're going to have a year when those slopes aren't quite as snowy as you wish they were. So it goes.

This year, 2013 is one the weather prognosticators call a neutral year. The kids, El niño and la niña, haven't come out to play with us. We're on our own with an overdose of el sol, and not nearly enough nieve. And while he hails from a different culture, Ullr's a no show as well, and there isn't a virgin to be found for miles around... not that we'd actually sacrifice someone just to make it snow. Would we?

With any luck, nothing in the preceding paragraphs makes any sense. I'm willing to run that risk and hope it's the case. Such is the chance I take when Christmas falls on Wednesday, the paper I write for comes out on Thursday and I have to file this Boxing Day column a whole week ahead... when the sun's shining so brightly through the window I can hardly see the computer screen.

There were a number of things we didn't need this year. We didn't need more mayhem on the highway. Didn't need a world turkey shortage, an elf strike at the North Pole, or a Conservative industry minister going all Scrooge on us about how feeding poor children wasn't the government's job.

Snow, we needed; visitors having the time of their lives, we needed; high spirits and a festive glow, we needed; a buoyant holiday, we needed.

But so far, this seems destined to be the season that tests the stuff we're made of. The snow is coming late and largely out of snowguns. Those of us who look to skinny skiing to fill winter's aerobic void in our lives are, well, still running the trails we'd rather be skiing. Depending on which experts(sic) you listen to, we're either hopelessly in debt and heading for financial Armageddon or doing OK, just OK unless we're in that fortunate "one per cent" who seem still to be able to rig the game.

The saving grace so far has been cold weather. That sounds ironic coming from someone who lives in a ski resort but Whistler isn't like other ski resorts. Cold weather cannot be taken for granted. And make no mistake, we've had some cold weather and it's been our salvation. Although, I've admittedly been having Cuban dreams, fantasizing about burying my cold toes in warm sand, a fantasy so real I can virtually taste the sugary sweet kiss of rum and Coke on my parched lips. As an accommodation, I'm reworking that fantasy to fit my reality — burying my toes in a hot tub and sipping mulled Jackson-Triggs... sublimation to be sure but it works well in a seasonally-appropriate, chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open fire way.

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