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There are two distinct camps of Western New Yorkers during a winter like this. There are the types thrilled to have real Buffalo snow back, and then there are those who complain incessantly about the weather.

It’s not just the difference between those who spend their days at Holiday Valley and those who would rather hang at Sunset Bay.

It’s not just those who own automatic car starters and those forced to wait five finger-freezing minutes each morning for their cars to slog back to life.

It’s those who see magic as the snow piles up and those who just see another layer of trouble.

There’s been a lot of talk that we’ve been spoiled in the last few years when mild weather made winter life a whole lot easier. It’s a view held by many who mutter about the snow and waste the winter days counting the time until spring.

Sure, you were lucky last year if you had the type of job that involves ordering road salt or making the call on whether to cancel school. Yes, we had a reprieve on heating bills and didn’t face the peril of ice everywhere we walked.

But there are also people who see the snow adding up and wistfully remember the winters of their youth, when seemingly epic storms left enough snow to burrow mazes of tunnels through the backyard and spend the days plotting snowball battles.

Maybe it’s all that nostalgia about childhood snow days, but personally, I’ll take a winter like this over the kind with endless gray days and nothing to show for the weather but mud and bare trees. It’s utterly disappointing to get a good layer of snow only to have the rain melt it into soggy brown slush a few days later.

Puffy snowflakes and crunchy snow piles are better than bone-chilling rain and soupy puddles on any winter day.

Everything just looks fresher under snow – especially those lifeless tomato plants still lingering in the garden and the yard work that didn’t get done before the ground froze solid.

Besides, what’s to celebrate when they take the ice boom out come spring if there’s no ice to be swept down the river?

And what better way to be reminded how great your neighbors are than to look out and see one of them snowblowing your sidewalk on a day you’re running late?

There are those who think we’ve gotten soft about winter. They grumble that schools never closed simply because of a little thing called wind chill when they were young. But it’s easy to forget; bitter cold temperatures closed schools for two days in January 1994.

What have been weird this winter are the wild swings we’ve had amid the bitter cold. We tied the record low on Jan. 8 with minus 5, but saw record rainfall just a few days before Christmas. Not to mention a little thing called the polar vortex. It’s kind of like that first year you heard about El Niño.

Yeah, it’s been a little cold and snowy this winter. We could do without the lake-sized potholes and slick streets. I kind of miss being able to walk into work without my toes going numb and would like it if my windshield wipers would stop freezing to the glass.

But there are few days that bring a better sense of renewal than those that start with a crisp-cold morning, the sun blazing across sparkling snow – except, maybe, one of those perfect July days in Buffalo.

email: djgee@buffnews.com

It’s those who see magic as the snow piles up and those who just see another layer of trouble.