David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The Snow Pool


The election is over and the proposed sewage system lost. Who would have thought we’d have a recount of 71 votes? We all thought it would be close, but few thought it would be a matter of a single vote. Who says your vote doesn’t count?

The elections in Colorado in many ways reflected the mood of the country. School board members elected generally ran on “back to basics” platform. City council members who ran on “managed growth” platforms were most often elected. Boulder’s Open Space tax passed, as did an $89 million school bond issue. Those items reflected the “managed growth” issue, as well as the improved economy, which is drawing more people and requiring more school rooms, particularly in the eastern part of the county.

But for the moment we seem to be more interested in Thanksgiving and Christmas, and on December 21 the sun will begin its long march to the north, and we will be bracing ourselves for winter. At least the movement of the sun is utterly predictable. The long range forecast has been for lower than normal temperatures and higher than normal precipitation.

It was a strange weather year in our mountains. The growing season was longer than usual, and we had more snow; there was still some snow from last year when the first snows of winter turned Mt. Meeker white. We had fewer thunderstorms, but more rain.

We are understandably sensitive to the rhythms of the weather and our year is governed by what we expect. For the most part those expectations center around holidays: Easter, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The ebb and flow of residents, both permanent and part-time, can be charted by those days and we have firm expectations about what kind of weather typifies each of them. When our expectations aren’t met it makes us uncomfortable.

Keith Dever’s snow pool has been a fixture in the valley for a long time. The price went up this year, to two dollars per guess. Just in case you don’t know about it, you pay your two dollars and write on a slip of paper the date when you think the last snow visible to the naked eye will disappear from the slopes of Mt. Meeker. It can and has varied wildly, from early summer to not at all, but the usual is late August to mid-October. There are usually several winners who share the same date. It’s a little like the lottery, but at least there’s a tiny bit of skill involved. This year it was very close. There was just a little left when the first heavy snows appeared, but there it was, and there it stayed. That’s unusual. It’s happened only a few times in the last 40 years.

I was one of those who guessed correctly, but it doesn’t make me all that happy. I was betting that the rhythm of the weather would be broken, and when it was I was more worried about what it means than happy about winning a share of the pool. Does this mean the weather is changing? Or is this just another rarity? I like predictability, and even though I predicted it, I think I’d have been happier if I had lost.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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