January thaw is such a euphemism--it brings to mind, winter-weary folks treated to a sudden burst of flowers, green grass and nesting songbirds.
It isn't really that way at all, at least up here in the nation's eastern tippy top. The air does get warmer and that is a nice relief but the snow begins to melt during the day and then re-freeze at night and that process continues for the duration of the thaw. Much like spring, the January thaw is not an attractive time, it gets slippery and dangerous and every one's nerves are on edge because much of our winter economy is dependent on skiers and snowmobilers. While we still have plenty of snow up here for those activities, if people in southern New England don't see snow in their backyard they tend to forget that we still have it up here and they put the skis away and move onto other things. Those of us not directly dependent on the snow for our incomes but who love it for personal reasons start to get anxious that our winter may be winding down.
Conditions have improved over the last few days, though. The temperatures this weekend are hovering around freezing making the snow pack solid and actually improving it. After a rough week of canceled ski practices, C was able to take his nordic team to a race yesterday and the conditions were fast and the track was well-set in the woods.
The difficulty will be forgotten about 3:00 tomorrow morning when we start to get another big snow storm. The teacher and the teenager in our house like the starting time of the storm--not enough time to get the roads cleared before the buses need to get out but enough time for the roads to be slippery.