Photo by Max Efrein.
Originally Published: December 31, 2016 6:02 a.m.
As the remaining snow from Christmas Eve’s wintry storm creeps away, it leaves many Prescott area residents smiling with recent memories of quality snowmen, snowball fights and sledding.
HOW RARE WAS IT?
Prescott had the third most snow on the ground Christmas morning this year than it has had in the last 100 years, according to measurements taken by volunteer cooperative observers for the National Weather Service. Here are the top seven Prescott snow depth figures for Christmas Day dating back to 1916:
1967 = 24 inches on the ground
1916 = 7 inches on the ground
2016 = 5 inches on the ground
1987 = 3 inches on the ground
1968 = 3 inches on the ground
1941 = 2 inches on the ground
1939 = 2 inches on the ground
Prescott doesn’t get much snow each year, but when it does, many in the quad-city area quickly capitalize on the occasional marvel.
Good indicators of how much the community is engaging in winter recreation are local retail stores.
Just two days after snow hit the ground — one of which was Christmas Day when most businesses were closed — nearly every retailer carrying sleds, tubes and toboggans for the season was completely sold out of such items.
Large department stores such as Target and Walmart were some of the first to run out.
Prescott Target’s store manager, Myrza Lamper, said they’ve had sleds stocked in their stores since October, but the plastic toys only really started selling when the snow started falling.
“When I got here Monday morning (Dec. 26), there was only one left,” Lamper said.
Prescott Home Depot’s operations manager, Tom Tuttle, reported a similar rush for the store’s limited stock of sleds.
“When the snow came, everybody gobbled them up,” Tuttle said.
That didn’t stop some shoppers from finding a way to hit the slopes.
“One of the things that a lot of our guests were doing — and they did last year as well — was they were buying crates and using the lids to slide around with,” Lamper said.
Both Lamper and Tuttle said they weren’t sure if and when their stores will receive another shipment of sleds this season, so it is recommended to call the stores to ask whether any have been restocked before trying to pick any up in person.
Where to go sledding
Acquiring a sled is one thing. Figuring out where to go sledding is another.
Just about any snow-covered hillside will do the job. However, there are a few key spots that Quad Cities residents tend to favor.
One is a picnic site along Highway 89A on Mingus Mountain.
Another — and perhaps more popular — is a pull off along Senator Highway just a few miles south of Gurley Street.
“This is probably the best spot,” said Mike Boeckner, a Chino Valley resident who was out sledding at the Senator Highway pull off with his family earlier this week. “I hear there are a few good areas along Walker Road too.”
Children and their parents weren’t the only ones out enjoying the slippery slopes. Some grandparents were even giving it go, including 80-year-old Arline McKeever, a retired school nurse who has had both of her knees replaced in the last year.
“She’s a wild one,” said Kathleen McKeever, Arline’s daughter. “She’s one of those people who likes to enjoy life.”
“We’ve been doing this stuff for years,” said Arline, who has a cabin in Groom Creek.
When it comes to sledding, it may be best to wait for the another snowstorm to roll through later this season. The one predicted for this weekend is forecast to be mainly rain below 6,300 feet.