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Skiing, ice skating casualties of warm winter weather

Wahl is editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Published on January 30, 2018 3:24PM

“Station Eleven” is this year’s choice for The Big Read in Wallowa County.

“Station Eleven” is this year’s choice for The Big Read in Wallowa County.

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One of the casualties of our warmer-than-normal winter has been the Fergusun Ridge Ski Area and the Wallowa Valley Community Ice Rink. It’s tough to have fun in the snow when there really isn’t snow. And it’s impossible to ice skate on water. You need ice.

Reports funneled back to us that some parents were critical of the team that produces the ice rink because “it’s always closed.” All you have to do is drive by and take a look and the reason it’s closed becomes painfully obvious.

If you’ve been following the ice rink on Facebook, you understand quickly those who volunteer their efforts each year are as dismayed at Mother Nature’s largess as anyone.

The ski area is operated by Eagle Cap Ski Club and Ferguson Ridge Ski Patrol, sponsored by Enterprise - Joseph Lions Club. It was open for the Eagle Cap Extreme Dog Race. Everyone who made it up there reported it was a ton of fun.

While no one wanted a repeat of last year’s winterius horribilus, an overly warm and nearly snowless winter is not ideal either. Cutting out two major sources of pleasures for young and old makes the season seem abnormally long and boring.

Perhaps next year, we will strike a happy medium where winter weather is concerned. Meanwhile, get out and enjoy what there is of it, because spring is just around the corner.

And kudos to everyone who has a hand in providing both the ski area and the ice skating rink for our enjoyment. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

WE ARE in the midst of preparing the 2018 edition of the Wallowa County Visitor Guide, which is always a fun project for the Chieftain staff.

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wish the visitor guide contained ...” fill in the blank ... now is a good time to let us know.

There are several exciting new features we are incorporating into this year’s edition, emphasizing the historical and cultural aspects of tourism in Wallowa County.

While not everyone is thrilled about tourism, it’s tough to imagine Wallowa County without a thriving crop of visitors each year. Not only do they spur economic benefits, but tourists are also interesting folks who share world views that may be dramatically different from our own.

I find it interesting to see our lives through the eyes of people who don’t live here. And I’ll have to say, most of the ones I’ve had a chance to chat with are impressed.

I can’t count the number of people living here who have responded to the question, “how did you discover Wallowa County,” with the answer, “we came here on vacation.”

DON’T FORGET the Rotary Club of Wallowa County friendraiser Feb. 9 at the Joseph Community Center. Not only is this the perfect night out to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the organization and its accomplishments in the community.

Tickets are available at the Chieftain.

THE 2018 version of The Big Read kicks off in a couple weeks. This week, I had my first opportunity to crack open this year’s featured novel, “Station Eleven.”

It’s probably one of the more unusual books you’ll read in your lifetime. Without giving too much away, a flu epidemic decimates the world and survival is the order of the day. Yet “survival is insufficient.”

It’s essentially science fiction, but has also been described as post-apocalyptic fiction.

An entire month is being set aside by the folks at Fishtrap for Big Read this year, and for the first time, events will also be held in Union County.

We will publish a complete list of activities shortly. Meanwhile, don’t wait for the movie, buy the book.


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