It’s spring somewhere

You know that spring is just around the corner when tree planters start to return to Vancouver Island.

You know that spring is just around the corner when tree planters start to return to Vancouver Island to take advantage of the first region in the province to come into planting season conditions.

I’ve heard that some folks are hanging up their skis and airing out their planting gear to head out from the B.C. interior — still very much  in winter mode — to the Island.

Now, even north Vancouver Island is a southerly destination from Burns Lake, so nobody’s calling it spring yet around here. It just feels a little bit like spring is right around the corner because we’ve had so much mild weather recently.

The early start to winter didn’t help our perceptions either.  The Omineca Ski Club was able to have their trails in great shape almost a month earlier than usual, so it’s felt like a long winter.

On the other hand, we had a late start to the professional hockey season, which really threw perceptions off for a lot of Canadians.  Normally the hockey season would have been well-underway before the start of the ski season, but instead it’s only just started.

One joker said that, with the late start of hockey this year, the Stanley Cup final game should happen sometime within the first week of next season.

Speaking of seasons, what happened to the downhill ski season?  Not that it’s much of a concern in Burns Lake, but the early and heavy snowfall didn’t amount to much west of Burns Lake.  The ski hill in Smithers has about half the snow pack it had last year, if you can trust the giant snow level ‘ruler’ painted onto the front of a chairlift post.

As for the famously cold Burns Lake winter weather, there hasn’t been much of it.  Sure, we had a couple of cold weeks where nighttime lows consistently dropped to minus 27 degrees Celsius, but from what some old-timers have told me, that’s nothing.

Back in their younger days, minus 27 would have been a daytime-high in the winter that they could only have hoped for. T-shirt weather. Apparently.

It’s a good thing things are warming up around Burns Lake.  With pending reductions to Greyhound bus services coming up soon, there won’t be as many opportunities for people to get away.

This early warm weather and the snow melt it brings might help bring the bike trails into condition earlier this spring.  Maybe it’ll be a bumper year, with 2012-13 having an early ski season and an early bike season.

More significantly, an early spring might allow some major construction to get underway around Burns Lake sooner than expected. The arena expansion, the hospital replacement, and of course, the rebuild of the Babine mill.

That’s a lot of activity all at once in Burns Lake.  Maybe that’s part of the anticipation for an early spring, just to see these projects finally get underway. For workers whose employment benefits have run out, the spring construction season can’t come soon enough.