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    Posted January 28, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wintry weather 2014

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    Frozen Serendipity


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     dutchfranz is a freelance journalist from Seattle who visited Methow Valley, Washington, over Martin Luther King weekend and found some residents undeterred by the mediocre skiing there's been in the area due to lack of snow fall. "The community's economy is based largely on the snow industry and people move and live there specifically for the snow and skiing," he said. The Methow Valley Sports Trail Association (MVSTA) groomed the frozen Patterson Lake so residents would be able to cross-country ski. "The lake had not been groomed in recent memory and locals had a hard time remembering when they last skied the frozen lake bed," he said. The frozen lake really brought the community together in what the writer calls a "Norman Rockwellesque serendipity."
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    Snow conditions have been frustrating here in Western Washington. Call it global warming or just plain bad luck it is what it is, and what it is is mediocre skiing.

    But that’s okay, because sometimes when things are not going as we might want, it forces us to try new things and have different experiences. This Martin Luther King Jr. weekend was one of those occasions.

    The Methow Valley in Washington’s North Cascades has not been immune to this seasons dismal snow fall, and faced with a grumbling local crowd use to ample snow in January and a bustling tourist influx for the long weekend, someone in the Methow decided it would be a good idea to groom Patterson Lake. The lake, eight miles southwest of Winthrop, is large and normally entertains a small group of ice fishers during winter. The lake had not been groomed in recent memory and locals had a hard time remembering when they last skied the frozen lake bed.

    What happened next was a moment of Norman Rockwellesque serendipity. It seems that when you mix crystal blue skies with fresh crisp winter air and a large circle carved in ice a strange thing happens…people stop what they are doing as they pass on the trail and talk with each other. And not just one or two people, but whole groups find things in common…groups of women and groups of men, couples form couples groups, new families show off the new addition to others with new additions, groups of dogs chase each other’s tails, and old loves find new love as they swing their hips and ski in slow unison.

    What formed in the three days of the MLK weekend was a community on ice, a community of strangers, and a community of lifelong and new friends. Like Brigadoon it sprang spontaneously each morning and slowly faded away into evening’s twilight, only to be reborn anew the next day.

    And in those countless moments between dawn and dusk on a simple frozen lake a rare thing happened, in those special singular moments humanity happened, spontaneous, smiling, carefree community…and it was magic.
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