Everybody talks about the weather...
...and nobody does a thing about it."
Last night we watched The Day After Tomorrow and there were any number of references to the notorious mid-Atlantic current. If you're in Europe, you really get a feeling for what this environmental phenomenon means for your day to day life during the winter: Snow and plenty of it.
In the alpine countries, snow feeds a huge percentage of the economy. (I should post some well researched fact here. Hold please...I'll update later.) Numbers are all very fine and well, but where you really see the impact of this is in the traffic during winter break. The country actually rotates their winter break by state so's to manage the impact of all those folk in transit and on the slopes. My young nephew attended ski lessons for a week through a program in his public school and it's not unusual to see the neighbor kids dragging their skis home after school. Skiing is not a vacation, it a national occupation.
Check out Ski Season from Adventures from the Green Forest in which the complexities of scheduling your winter ski break are exhaustively explained. Dutched Pinay has several posts about skiing in Austria. Both sites have long posts, but they're typical of the kind of details that folks consider when getting their snow time planned. Via "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Herring" I learned that in Sweden they have 95 words for the act of shoving snow in someone's face. Another serious bunch when it comes to snow, I tell you what. Stay alert and wear goggles, that's my advice.
In other places in Europe where they see less snow, they're less, um, compulsive about it. There's more good humor and less offensive manoevering. Prime example: the South of France snowman at LicketySplit. Look at those eyes. That's happy snow.