El Niño and the Cross Country Challenge

I felt like such a idiot showing up to A Current Affair with my duffel bag. I was wearing a short denim dress and open toe sandals, while all the other vintage vendors, dressed in flannels and heavy boots, were suitably hanging up their furs, knits and coats for sale. I guess it hadn’t dawned on me that California is just as inclined to seasonal mayhem, and that the flirty, light summer things I’d brought to sell would send our shivering customers running for the hills. I should have known, considering that the majority of the coat orders on Tales of Vintage have been shipped to a vintage store in Long Beach, CA. And this year turns out to be an especially breezy winter out there. While New York made history with the warmest Christmas on record, Los Angeles barely made it to 60, proving once and for all – do you get it now, GOP? – that Climate Change is at its peak.

So it was appropriate that I’d take this little snow gear shoot for Adidas by Stella McCartney Wintersport Collection to the mountains in the West. Vermont was barren, while Mammoth got dumped on just a couple of weeks earlier. It rained more than a few times when I was in LA. That was a trip all in itself. I don’t think any of the cars’ windshield wipers were up to the task because they’d never been used for any other purpose than to hold parking tickets. Mine were flipping and flopping like fish out of water, literally, and I could barely make out the road. Radio stations warned listeners against El Nino and gave meticulous advice on how to prepare for its torrential rains. Roofs, trees and hillsides would have be properly protected from the impending mud slides and floods. They were quite eery conversations actually.

Which brought me to the nagging question: which route to take cross-country? As you know I’m moving to Los Angeles, and we’ve been thinking of driving all my stuff to the other side in a U-Haul. But with these crazy weather conditions it’s hard to tell which way to go. Google maps gives three different options: the fastest one – 41 hours – goes through Illinois on to Nebraska, but isn’t Chicago always obliterated by snow by now? The second one goes through Oklahoma and New Mexico, but they’ve closed highways and announced blizzard warnings. And the slowest takes a turn in Missouri and Kansas. Do we take Lincoln Highway or the US6? Hard to tell these days, because the South has been blasted with storms and tornadoes, while the North could (or should) be an avalanche of icy snow conditions. And now I’m reading that the Northern states will be warmer than usual. So you know, it’s freaking confusing. Oooooor…. do we just put my entire household on a truck and let the movers deal with it? Aren’t summer road trips way better anyways? What’s your take, travelers?

Anyways, if you insist on doing the usual outdoor activities, be prepared that your familiar ski slopes might not be performing at their full and fun potential. In the United States you have to stay West: Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, California are all having great snowfall this year. I saw incredible shots from Mammoth and Jackson Hole these past few weeks. British Columbia has never been better. My friend in Whistler reported the best snow in ages. I’d avoid the Alps, for now. In Chamonix for example only 21 out of 102 trails were open. Or maybe you want to try Japan? I’m no expert but at this speed, skiing might very well be replaced by surfing…

All clothing provided by Adidas by Stella McCartney from the Wintersport Collection. Vintage toffee colored duffle coat (size S/M, $139) and tweed blazer jacket (size S, $130), available at Tales of Vintage – contact talesofvintage@gmail.com.

Photos by Michael Townsend

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December 26, 2015

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