Long exhale ... ah, another winter season comes to a close and for a few weeks many Grand County people get to take a well-earned break. Or not.
Few would characterize the winter season that officially ended last Sunday as stellar. Yet, the sense of economic doom that might have followed such a lackluster snow year in Grand County just a couple years ago seems conspicuously absent, for the most part.
Rather than bemoan the dismal winter, far more people are instead optimistically segueing into spring and summer. Signs of economic hope and renewal are pervasive:
Sales tax receipts in the town of Fraser for February - the dead of winter, if you will - were up 8 percent this year compared with 2011. Go figure.
New restaurants are popping up in Granby and Kremmling like crocuses poking through the last remnants of spring snowpack. And rumors persist about two "national retailers" preparing to build stores across US Highway 40 from the Granby City Market.
The new bowling alley/movie theater in Winter Park is close to receiving its finishing touches, and the sound of mountain bikes can be heard crunching gears throughout the county.
Golf is being played at three of the four Grand County courses, and boats loaded with anglers and gear are criss-crossing the Three Lakes in search of lunker lakers.
Businesses are receiving spring facelifts or preparing to move into new buildings altogether and - dare we say it aloud? - signs of a slow but steady resurgence in remodeling and building are cropping up across the county.
Heck, one Granby developer is even getting ready to build a new road.
Springtime in the Rockies this year is, well, actually spring-like for a change.
To be sure, we'd all prefer to be heading into the warm months coming off a robust winter season. But there's lemonade to be made. After all, not everyone, as the saying goes, came to Grand County for the winters but stayed for the summers. Some, in fact, came for the summers, and they will be thrilled at the potential of having an extra month or two to play this year.
"Mud season," you say. What mud season? Break out the water skis.