Snow has been forecast for Sapporo for the first time this winter:
As you can see from the graphic above, there is a 70 per cent chance that this afternoon clouds are going to turn into snowmen. You can also see that the temperature is now officially cold and probably getting colder.
I’m quite fond of cold weather but I can’t see the point of living somewhere cold unless you get to enjoy snow. Even though I can’t ski and flounder helplessly on ice skates or any other form of cold weather transport, I still love the snow. Maybe it’s because I can make snowballs – and I still have very fond memories of my first teaching job at high school in the Czech Republic where I was able to hit the head-mistress with a snowball and get one of my students blamed for it – or possibly because snow just makes anywhere look nice, dampens the sound of traffic and somehow makes the landscape seem very peaceful. In any case, when I saw snow on the forecast I became very excited. ‘Where is the best place to find snow?’ I asked myself and the obvious answer is up a mountain so I decided to head up Teineyama – my local hill climbing training spot – and see if I couldn’t get snowed on.
And just in case it didn’t snow, I thought I’d better take plenty of photos to document my trip out there and up my favourite climb. First I got wrapped up in my warmest cycling clothes, although I did make the blunder of not putting on full-finger gloves, a decision I later regretted as I was descending a chilly Teineyama.
Finally I got to the base of Teineyama but no sign of snow. Google Earth has cunningly anticipated what Teineyama looks like with a bit of snow on it, which is something like this:
But I knew it would be a chilly descent so I didn’t want to stop and cool down. In all, the Teineyama climb is 8.5km and my GPS reports the average gradient to be between 6 and 6.3 per cent. I suppose it varies because the GPS doesn’t record data continuously. There were clouds about at the top but no sign of snow so I thought I might as well descend and ride up again and to try and beat my personal best and hope that by the time I got to the top, it would start snowing. I beat my PB but it didn’t snow.
I then had a descent that froze my fingertips followed by a chilly ride home, two cups of nice, hot coffee and a nice, hot shower. Sadly, still no sign of snow but some fog/clouds moved in over the mountains.
Sad to report, I don’t think we’ll be getting snow today. I think it’s trying to but all we’re getting outside now is mushy rain. And now I have to find a way to the pub to watch the Bledisloe Cup on the telly.
*By which I mean I only spent several hours scrutinising them last night.