Zahra Sran, five, from Murrayville, was getting as many runs in as she could on Saturday (Jan. 18) as temperatures rose and snow retreated on the slope near the George Preston rec centre on Saturday. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Ryan’s Regards: Is this weather normal?

Dumps of snow has columnist Ryan Uytdewilligen thinking back to his very cold youth in the Prairies

The dump of fluffy white stuff shut down Langley schools, sent cars into the ditch, and had citizens slipping into the streets, screaming “the end is nigh.”

Now, I can’t seemingly write one of these things without making reference to my Mexican girlfriend or my days of yore spent in Southern Alberta – but that’s all I could think about when the snow fell.

My girlfriend has often repeated in all her time spent in Canada, that it surprises her Canadians seemed to get confused – even panicked – when the snow arrives.

“Do they know that they live in Canada?” she points out.

I correct her and say that it’s not such a normal occurrence for the Lower Mainland before launching into my cannon of prairie winter war stories.

Growing up on a farm, I have since fostered a weighty chip on my shoulder that grows every time someone in Langley drones on about the lack of snow plows, the horrors of power outages, the chilly temperatures, or the minimal days of missed school.

No snowplow ever came to tend to our gravel roads; not once! I recall driving to class on a few occasions, plowing through drifts that towered higher than my little Sebring.

Of course, I was taught from a young age that snow tires were for the weak… and to be fair, I did make it to school just fine without ‘em.

There were no snow days, despite little me hunkering down around the radio to listen to school closures; it was so cold the buses couldn’t physically start, but the schools always remained open.

Power outages? Forget about it! The power went out on a calm summer’s eve, let alone a snow storm; it was a frequent occurrence.

READ MORE: Ryan’s Regards: Welcome to the roaring twenties

It got so nippy out one time, when my aunt’s cat – who insisted on going outside in -30 weather – came back inside and jumped up on the counter, its tail didn’t come with it; the furry extremity had frozen right off the critter completely.

I never once batted an eye about this lifestyle; as a kid, I was completely in my glory.

I had plenty of space to make tunnels, forts, and write the word “help” in giant letters across a field because I thought that seemed like a good idea at the time; boy, did I get in trouble for that one.

There’s even fond memories of my Dad bundling up to go get the tractor to clear the yard out – an old tractor that had no cab… poor guy…

In fact, I have a lot of fond memories (now that I don’t actually reside in that deep freeze anymore) because I was lucky enough to get the authentic Canadian winter experience as a kid.

You know… playing hockey on frozen ponds and tobogganing down hills at recess time; a Tim Horton’s commercial kind of life.

Though I’ve been readying to angrily shout all of these stories to the Langleyites slipping and sliding all over the road, I realize growing up with plenty of winter driving practise is not the norm here. People don’t get the winter wonderland I took for granted.

I never thought I’d say this, but I lucked out growing up in -30 blizzards that knocked out the power.

Whatever opportunity we get here to make some snow angels should be cherished.

My girlfriend – who got to build her first snowman last week – is right.

Sometimes, based on the weather around here, I’m not sure if I’m in Canada or not… but, here’s hoping we get a few more snow storms this season to provide us with snowy hills and cancelled classes.

She argues Cancun beaches, but I say, is there any other country in the world that beats Canada this time of year?


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