California native survives a spring break blizzard

Gillian Perry/Staff

Spring break is a week typically consisting of sunburns, tanlines and fruity drinks. The weather report for last week in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, showed sun, sun, sun! Oh, and a chance of a blizzard Tuesday. But hey, in southern California, forecasters incorrectly predict rainstorms all the time.

It was Tuesday morning. The windows were closed, and I, blissfully unaware, put on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, and wondered why the house was so warm. Thinking the room could use a little more light, I opened the blinds to the outward facing window. That’s when I saw it. White. Everywhere. There was no trace of my neighbor’s house,  the trees outside or the car in the driveway — just pure white. The snow had arrived.

To a California native, snow is positively, absolutely shocking. It’s an event not to be missed. But for out-of-state natives such as myself, we become oblivious to the snow. I left my car outside the night before the storm, letting the snow ensnare the tires. The snow blanketed the driveway, making it impossible to go anywhere. It stuck in my hair when I stupidly tried to go outside, and it crept into my “waterproof” boots, so when it melted, my toes were nice and soggy. Being confronted with a blizzard on spring break was like being told an obnoxious relative was coming to visit.

When I first found out my family was moving away from the SoCal beaches and to the snow-capped Colorado mountains, I admit, my first thought was along the lines of “wow, we can have a white Christmas!” Little did I know, a white Christmas is also a cold Christmas, a confined Christmas and a stir-crazy Christmas. When I actually experienced snow for the first time, all the romantic associations I had with it were lost. I was just wet and cold.

But a few days after the storm passed, the sun came out. The mountains were blanketed in white, my dog disappeared into the giant snow banks and the roofs were all dusted lightly with snowflakes. Following the storm, I understood the appeal of a white Christmas. Following three days of surviving on Kraft macaroni and cheese, I understood how snow could make anyone appreciate the fact that they could actually go to the grocery store. Following the snow, I saw the light.

I may not have been able to sit on a beach for hours on end, but I did sit on my couch. The snow allowed me to be anti-social, which I actually preferred. Seeing everything powdered and shimmery after the initial dumping of snow seemed to make the snow kind of O.K. Nevertheless, my spring break was definitely more white than tan.

Contact Gillian Perry at [email protected].