Ridin’ Out the Storm

One of my fondest childhood memories is of a snowstorm. In January 1977, Southern Canada, New York, Pennsylvania and neighboring states experienced the brunt of a blizzard that dumped 20-plus inches of snow in my neck of the woods in northern Pennsylvania. It was really something to brag about.

Along with the incredible depth of the snow was the blowing and drifting that accompanied it. With a long driveway from our house to the road we had quite a bit of snow clearing to do. No, we didn’t have a snowplow or a snowblower. We had manpower with snow shovels. With most of us nine children still living at home, we had no need for modern machinery.

One section of the driveway was adjacent to a field, and the snow drifted into banks taller than I stood. For an 8-year-old boy, it was heaven. I had so many tunnels, trenches and caves dug into those snowbanks it resembled the Western Front during World War I.

Recently freelancer Rich Finzer approached me with an idea for an article about record snowfall in the northern portion of the Finger Lakes. I knew I had to jump at the opportunity to publish the piece. Not only did it remind me of good days, but I think many people are interested and intrigued by the amount of snowfall just south and east of Lake Ontario.

Within the Finger Lakes Region, the counties of Monroe, Wayne and Cayuga are considered part of the snow belt. Oswego County, although not an official part of the region, is mentioned by Rich.

In the snow belt they measure the snowfall in feet, not inches. When communities get hit with 5 feet of snow in one storm, you know this is serious. Anyone in that area who doesn’t have a snowblower or plow and has a sizeable area to clear probably wishes they had some mechanized help after such a storm.

The funny thing is, if that kind of snow fell in other parts of the country, it would be considered a national emergency. But the folks of the northern Finger Lakes stoically clear the snow and go about their business. Conditions such as these suggest that people can get used to almost anything.

I for one really like snow, but I imagine that after several winters of 5-foot snowstorms I may even become tired of the white stuff.

On another subject, we’re very excited to announce that in 2012 we’ll be publishing five issues of Life in the Finger Lakes magazine. If you’re a current subscriber you’ll receive in your mailbox the extra travel guide issue in late spring.

I would like to thank everyone who responded to our e-mailed reader profile survey. We had an overwhelming response, and that proves to me that you, the reader, are a passionate person who really enjoys the Finger Lakes and likes to learn and experience all you can about this great region.


by Mark Stash