By Kendall McCormick
Winter in New England is typically defined by one specific characteristic: snow. A New England winter without snow is like an oxymoron; it seems impossible. Unfortunately for students, this year has seemed to prove all previous stereotypes wrong.
The first brief flurry of snow in October seemed promising for a snowy winter. Yet December came and passed, and still not a single flake appeared.
For many, a snowless winter is not a problem but an advantage. A winter without snow prevents shoveling, slippery roads, dampness and other hassles that usually accompany snow. Lack of snow is less expensive, both for the government and the individual.
But can you really put a value on the feeling of waking up to a blanket of snow covering the treetops and glimmering in the sun?
In the long and cold New England winters, snow raises spirits and brings happiness. Even in high school the childhood feeling of excitement that arises from a new snow, for many, ceases to disappear.
Aside from snow, there remains very little to look forward to during the long, cold months following the holidays. The unbearable length of winter is made just a bit more bearable through the happiness that typically accompanies snow.
Moreover, snow can be essential for recreation as well. Especially in the north, activities that require snow such as downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing are immensely popular.
A 2008 poll by the National Ski Areas Association found that there were 6.5 million skiers and 5.9 million snowboarders in the United States. Lack of snow not only loses business for mountains but also is unfortunate for those who have paid for season passes or just for those looking forward to occasionally taking part in these activities.
While the amount of snowfall each winter is not a factor anyone can change, a winter with a small amount of snow is certainly a disappointment for many.