by Luke Baumgarten & r & Last year's snow season sucked, right? It probably had something to do with certain meteorological patterns (El Nino, La Nina, whatever) -- --precipitation trends and all that. So we can blame Mother Nature.
And we know that Lake Roosevelt -- the massive, artificial body of water to the west -- has been gradually normalizing temperatures around here since the '40s. On average, it has caused milder temperatures, and we now generally get less snow less of the year. So we can also blame Mr. Delano Roosevelt and his so-called Public Works Administration.
Yes, yes, these are all valid targets of our ski-bum wrath, certainly. But let's turn that critical lens inward a moment, shall we? Can you really say that you were doing all you could, last year to bring about the blanketing snows of late autumn? "Me?" you may protest, "I haven't the power!" To which I reply, "Don't you?" The fluke of meteorology and the Grand Coulee Dam's slow dulling of our four seasons are players in the game, sure. But just maybe, you didn't want it badly enough. And by you, I mean us. We could have all tried a little harder to let Old Dame Winter know she was wanted around these parts.
That's exactly what the Spokane Snow Show is aiming at this year. It wants to prove to winter that we're ready for her crisp, righteous wrath. The show, starting Sunday, Nov. 13, at noon, will be like a rain dance ... except for snow. It will scream: "Dump on us, and we'll carve you!" More than a mere vendor meet-and-greet, this year the Snow Show will be a full-on winter kickoff party.
It's been moved to the Big Easy, which will be offering the full alcoholic regalia of a night at Club Fusion. The Bourbon Street Grille, too, will be open, serving nosh-ables to our warmth-weary snow-trekkers. Meanwhile, as you're eating, drinking and purchasing, the Easy's 20-odd screens will pipe ski and snowboard flicks courtesy of Teton Gravity Research. TGR films -- sources tell us -- are all kinds of gnarly.
"We wanted something different than just walking around on concrete, visiting booths," says George Green, promotions manager for The Inlander, which, along with the Inland Northwest Ski Association is bringing you this event. "The goal this year is to build excitement for the snow season."
In between the drinks, the grub and the monitors showing all kinds of psychosis-addled death-defying in remote locations, excitement appears to be locked up.
Of course, the vendors and local mountains will still be there, in force -- 49 & ordm; North, Lookout Pass, Mount Spokane, Schweitzer and Silver Mountain. They'll all be on hand at the show to do season pass photos. Among the other resorts in attendance will be Apex, Red Mountain, Whitewater, Big Mountain, Meadow Lake, Mission Ridge and Brundage.
Among vendors in attendance will be REI, Mountain Gear, Mountain Goat Outfitters, Wintersport, Columbia, Helly-Hansen, and L77. All told, there'll be more than 30 booths to browse, many of them giving away prizes and offering substantial discounts.
Perhaps the thing Green is happiest about, though, isn't even happening at the Big Easy. It's happening next door, at the Met Theater. His eyes brighten when he tells me how he landed two screenings of the brand-new Teton Gravity Research film, The Tangerine Dream.
"Those guys are doing things that no one else does," he says. The film is an origin tale -- not unlike the Book of Genesis -- about the early days of TSR, which was forged on the world's remotest slopes by some of the world's craziest bastards. The film whiplashes from peaks in India, Turkey, Switzerland and France to domestic settings everywhere from Aspen to Jackson Hole. Riders do crazy things from insane places as the voice-overs romanticize and wax philosophical about the neck-deep powder-heavy lifestyle they lead.
"I feel really privileged to have this type of lifestyle," one rider says. "I still have the same beat-up pickup truck since 1989, don't have a house, but I'm walking around in Turkey, wearing a turban, jumping off rocks, riding camels. Basically my whole life is a complete disaster." Like -- uh -- the tightest disaster ever, maybe. If that doesn't get you stoked on winter, then basically nothing can.
The INSA Snow Show is Sunday, Nov. 13, from noon-7:30 pm at the Big Easy, 929 W. Sprague. Tickets: $5 per person, but children 12 and younger get in free -- as do season-pass holders at one of the Inland Northwest Ski Association mountains. Tickets to The Tangerine Dream (showing at 6 and 8 pm) are $12; $7 for children 12 and younger. Adults who want to buy tickets for both the Snow Show and the film can obtain both for $15. Call: 325-SEAT.