Bad Case of the Chinook Blues

by on Jan 25, 2013 in Fave Photos | 3 Comments

I gotta confess, I have a bad case of the Chinook blues. For those of you not familiar with a chinook, it’s a dry, forceful wind created in the downward sloping, rain shadow east of the Canadian Rocky mountains. (I always believed that ‘chinook’ meant snow eater, but wikipedia informs me that this is not true; instead, the screaming winds are named after an aboriginal people further west. What would we do without wikipedia?) See, the thing with Chinook winds is that they can eat chunks of snow in an hour, raising temperatures and hopes that spring is just around the corner. But this is Alberta. If we forget our special geography, February is lurking with -30C days just around the corner, stealing our breath in one quick, icy hand as soon as we step out our front door.

But now, it feels like spring…the Earth is warm and brown, and it is hard to be in the office in front of the very synthetic glow of my computer screen when the promise of seasonal change whispers outside.

Grass and trees

Underneath the snow is a dormant world – © Samantha Chrysanthou

About the Author

Photographing the incredible beauty of natural things, filming quirky videos, trying new foods with unpronounceable names, curling up with a good book, sharing ideas on how to live lighter on the Earth...these are a few of my favourite things!


  1. Brad Mangas
    January 25, 2013

    I know it’s no real consolation but your not the only ones suffering from those deceptive mid winter blues. Here in the Mid-West part of the U.S. I just want it to make up it’s mind. I have been wanting a good old fashion winter for the last two years and all we get is some half baked wanna be sometimes cold sometimes not snow-less days. It’s down right frustrating and the worst part is many people think when it’s 50 degrees out in the middle of January it’s wonderful! Huh? It’s winter for crying-out-loud, act like it!

    Wow, I didn’t mean to slip over the edge there for moment, but like I said your not the only one confused. Enjoy whatever you can Sam, tomorrow’s another day.

  2. Keltie Masters
    January 25, 2013

    Sam, I too feel your confusion. Two nights ago we sat outside in the hot tub at -10C admiring the Lunar Halo, indicating a change in the weather. Little did we know that today we would experience +15C while sitting on my girlfriend’s deck near Sundre (1.5 hrs northwest of Calgary). And as much as I love the warm weather, I know all too well it is just a tease. As I watch the deer from my deck, I can’t help but wonder how they adjust to this crazy weather we are experiencing. And then I thank my lucky stars we don’t live in those other places around the world that are experiencing the severity of Mother Nature. So in the meantime, I think I’ll spend my weekend outside with a “cool one” waiting for the pine peaks to land …

  3. Anne Jutras
    January 26, 2013

    Sadly, mother nature is hard to follow… I would never think you would have a drastic warming like that. But here, in Québec, this is common. The January mild spells did melt all the snow. 🙁 Now, the fields are bare, and the temperature is way below-30C.

    Keep our fingers crossed for a return to normal.


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