EDMONTON, AB - Every year for as long as I can remember, Terry McHardy - known by many people in Alberta’s ski circles as the “weather witch” - has been snowboarding, snow kiting and accurately predicting the weather.
When I last spoke to her, she said, “We are going to have an early winter here in the northern Rockies.”
As witnessed in many parts of the province this week, snowfalls of up to 30 centimetres confirms McHardy’s prediction was bang on.
|McHardy & Gibson hanging out at the beach. The pair met in 1993 at Marmot Basin.
Photo courtesy of Megan Gibson
McHardy was declared the “weather witch” in the early 1990s by Colleen Dunn, a former assistant ski instructor at Marmot Basin. She says the early snowfall is due to the constant shifting of the tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface and the shifting of the earth’s axis.
Whatever the reason, boarders and skiers will take McHardy’s word for it as they look forward to another year of massive snow.
I met McHardy at Marmot in 1993 when I was 13. She taught me how to snowboard.
For an Albertan, she came late to the slopes at the age of 23. She started as a skier and had nothing but the best equipment at the time - Head 220 skis with bear trap bindings and ankle height leather boots. McHardy recalls the skis weighed more than she did, but she was determined to master them and the slopes.
She eventually became a snowboarder and earned her Level 3 CASI (Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors) certification, as well becoming an evaluator race coach. Since then, she’s added snow kiting to her list of outdoor passions.
Off the slopes, McHardy is also well known for her uncanny ability to predict the weather year-round.
McHardy, who is of Spanish descent, says her grandmother taught her how to read the weather when she was a girl. She has something she calls “second sight” or “clear vision,” similar to extra-sensory perception, or ESP.
|Terry McHardy learned how to see "the other side" of nature at a very young age.
Photo courtesy of Megan Gibson
She says she has had this gift since birth, and it allows her to see "the other side” in nature. Growing up, she spent a lot of time with her grandparents, where she learned to read the weather by watching for nature’s signs, such as observing animals in the wild and following the moon’s cycles.
Her predictions are eerily accurate. Each year, she produces about 30 calendars for lucky people like myself and others she’s come to know in the ski industry. McHardy handwrites the calendars, embellished with her artwork. The weeks and months are filled with predictions of high winds, rain or snow and she’s accurate to within two or three days.
In the past, film companies shooting movies at Fortress Mountain in Kananaskis Country would call her to get her take on the weather. She’d give them her forecast and they’d shoot around her predictions with success.
If McHardy’s prediction of an early start to winter continues, that only bodes well for all of us who love to ski in the Rockies.
Bring it on, we say.
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