From India to the Arctic
One of Jason’s coworkers from India, Prafulla, visited Utah for the first time recently and since he had never seen snow before this trip, and it was a complete novelty to him, we volunteered to take him to Snowbird Resort so he could take a tram ride up the mountain and get an excellent view of all that snow-covered terrain. He was extremely excited but very nervous about this plan.
Prafulla didn’t own a coat or any other winter attire. Why would he? He’s from a region of the world that pretty much never experiences weather colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We got him some loaner gear though and bundled him up so he was ready to make his way up the mountain.
Jason and I considered the weather pretty pleasant and didn’t even bother zipping up our coats but Prafulla thought it was unbelievably freezing even with the coat, scarf, beanie, gloves, hand warmers, and face gator he was wearing. He immediately became very concerned when his lips and fingers started going a little numb. This was a sensation he had never experienced before and didn’t understand. We explained over and over that it was completely normal but he had a hard time conceptualizing how it could be okay and was quite certain that his extremities would never recover. Eventually he stopped questioning us about it but he continued to move his fingers repetitively within his gloves in a pinching motion because he couldn’t quite shake the fear that they would freeze solid or fall off and thought that this movement would be a good preventative measure. Jason and I had a hard time not laughing and we weren’t entirely successful in stifling our giggles.
Prafulla was awed by the view as the tram climbed up to the peak but he was still nervous about his cold parts and concerned that the tram might not be safe. When we reached the saddle he wasn’t too eager to exit and the frigid wind did nothing to encourage him but we eventually coaxed him off the tram and out onto the gusty slopes to take a look around. He said that being there near the summit, with the wind blowing snow into his eyes, he understood how the people that climb Everest feel. Although I don’t think our little excursion was quite on par with scaling Everest it was a big deal to our friend; it was a once in a lifetime experience for him.
In addition to taking a tram ride we showed Prafulla around the resort a bit. He couldn’t believe that people rode chairlifts up the mountain. He thought they looked entirely too risky and he seemed anxious just glancing at them. We also tried to teach him how to make a snowball. It turns out that it’s a little difficult for those that didn’t grow up playing in snow to comprehend the basics of snowball making. He didn’t understand how to pack the balls so they were more like snowblobs.
Taking Prafulla to Snowbird was nearly as much fun for me and Jason as it was for him. He was wowed and intimidated by what we considered completely ordinary; his reactions to the perfectly commonplace were quite entertaining. Those reactions also reminded me that here in Utah, where we have such extreme and unique environments, we truly do live in nature’s wonderland.