Bill Sniffin: The Horrible Winter Of 2022-23 Will Go Down In History – It Was Awful Everywhere We Went

Bill Sniffin writes: We have endured minus 39 temperatures in Lander, snow in Dallas, bitter cold winds in Las Vegas, and snow-packed highways through Denver.

Bill Sniffin

February 16, 20235 min read

Bill Sniffin lots of snow 1 16 23

Despite one of the worst winters in 40 years, we have been traveling all-across the country over the past few months. 

We have endured minus 39 temperatures in Lander, snow in Dallas, bitter cold winds in Las Vegas, and snow-packed highways through Denver. We also endured  minus 10 temps and nearly a foot of new snow during a few days in Cheyenne. 

Despite all this windshield time, we can rejoice that today (as I write this) is Feb. 15 and surely winter cannot hold on too much longer – right?

We would like to remind folks to follow those winter driving guidelines. Always keep your gas tank full. We carry a cooler with us at all times with water, candy bars, and trail mix just in case we were to get stranded in some desolate place – there are plenty of those places across the Cowboy State. Blankets and winter coats and boots are also with us at all times. One more thing – keep your windshield washer reservoir full because of the need to keep your visibility as good as possible. 

It appears that GPS systems in cars are not functioning very well and folks are driving off on back roads and then getting stuck. GPS stands for Global Positioning System and you can find it on our phones and in many of our cars and trucks. 

Now About These Big Trucks

Having driven just about every regional Interstate System in the last few months, we have been nervous about semitruck drivers. 

I chatted with two guys over coffee at the Red Lion in Cheyenne last month. Former truck driver Dan Sabroski of Casper and current truck driver Scott Taylor of Griswold, Iowa, were chatting about the issue. 

They both said there are too many inexperienced drivers herding these big rigs down the road. They said they think that too many of these new drivers are immigrants and hardly even know the English language. They said some have never seen snow or mountains, which explains why those horrible accidents occur on Interstate 80 just about every winter, in their opinions. 

Wyoming people have shivered and trudged through a severe wintry period and it seems to be already time for a thaw. 

The mercury has been below zero most mornings and the only time it has warmed up is so that it can snow again. I am not really complaining. I like winter. My hometown of Lander has the most beautiful winters in the world. Most of our snowfalls are so light and fluffy, they offer spectacular beauty.

Bitter Cold All Over Wyoming

It’s just that a little, bitty break in the weather would be OK to a great many people who live in Lander Valley and all over Wyoming. And maybe all-across the country.

Lander people have enjoyed sensationally mild winter weather the past few years. Except for occasional snowfalls and rare sub-zero spells, the winters were pretty open and darned mild.

This valley appeared to be more of a winter golfing haven at times rather than a snowmobiling capital.  

But lately, it has become its destiny as a snowmobiling capital. People have been heading to the mountains in record numbers. That 27-inch snowstorm around New Year’s Day put down a base that may be there until June!

However, the snowmobiling on the streets, which would have benefitted from this wintry weather, hasn’t really materialized. Plowing has been slow because of equipment failure and record snow dumps.

Meanwhile, the snowfall and temperatures have contributed to record numbers of ice fishermen and snowmobilers.

This valley is famous as a winter wonderland. We are not complaining, that’s for sure. But a little thawing would be nice for many folks.

Super Bowl In Las Vegas

Vegas Baby! That was the shout from all over the airplane as it touched down at Harry Reid International Airport the Saturday night before Super Bowl.

Not sure I have ever been on a plane full of happier revelers. 

Las Vegas becomes one of the most crowded places in the country on Super Bowl Sunday as 100,000 sports and betting enthusiasts head to Sin City to whoop it up.

We manned a booth at the Governors Tourism Conference in Cheyenne near the end of January. Congratulations to Chris Brown and Diane Shober and their staffs for a great show.

The turnout was lower than expected because all the state’s highways were closed during most of the time. John Johnson of Casper, who puts in lots of windshield time himself, said his trip from Casper to Cheyenne was about the worst he ever experienced. The normally two hour, 15-minute trip took six hours of white-knuckle total fear, he said. 

Lots of great folks like Leslie Jefferson of Carbon County and Jenissa Meredith of Sweetwater County plus Debbie Pummel of Casper did make it however – always great to see them. 

Karen Schumacher of Best Western in Sheridan was a winner of the passport competition. Also, lots of local distillers and brewers were displaying their products.  Backwards Distilling, Wyoming Whiskey, and Black Tooth Brewery  were the stars. 

We headed to Las Vegas and had to drive south to Interstate 40 as both Interstates 80 and 70 were closed. No surprise there.

We hit Denver at noon rush hour and I always wondered how long it would take to drive around C-470 tollway – it was 40 minutes and I think it was worth it. 

This is a winter to remember.  Please be safe out there. We have lots more snow, cold, and bitter conditions to endure. 

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.