There's a lot to be said about raking leaves while simultaneously shoveling snow using the exact same tool. Not a lot of which can be repeated in a family newspaper, of course, but there is indeed quite a colorful bit that can be said.Nevertheless, I love the fact that after 28 glorious color-changing falls in Vail, I still can't help but be as excited as a 6-year-old on Christmas morning upon waking to the first real snowfall of the season.It simply never gets old.Last Monday night, after I spent most of the evening repeatedly glancing out the window just in case it started early, we were doing our normal thing around bedtime. Teeth were brushed, dog was back inside, TVs and computers were off, heater was on. Everything was as it should be except for the lack of a mom. She had departed suddenly Monday morning, muttering something about too many "male genitalia" in the house.(OK, yes I'm paraphrasing, and actually she went with her mom for a few weeks over to Denmark due to the passing of a longtime family friend, but I'll stick to my personal reasoning because she uses such a line as an excuse every once in a while to "go out with the girls.") Anyway, our "saying goodnight" conversation went like this:"Dad, I know this must sound weird to you, but I can't wait to wake up tomorrow."I quickly considered giving him a brief lecture on knowing your audience before making such a statement but instead replied, "Yeah, why's that?""'Cuz everything will be white and covered in snow!"All I could do was smile.Yet on this very page, there is a good chance that this column is surrounded by letters written by angry people responding to previous letters written by even angrier people covering such fascinating subjects as 3B, 5A, 103, ERS, OWS (Occupy Wall Street), those goofy Republican candidates and probably at least one or two condemning President Obama for the mortgage crisis and/or climate change.While so many are so busy fighting about so much, my youngest, who this week begins his seventh season competing for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, is just as excited about the season's first glimpses of the white gold as his dad. Starting today, he will be spending five days a week on snow (at the very least), yet at the very first sight of the white stuff in the fall, he can't wait to run outside and touch it.My parental pride is palatable.His brothers (21 and 24) are still the same way, and I have to tell you that allowing such a simple act to have such a major impact in such a complex world does more to reinforce my decision to raise children in Happy Valley than all the snow that has fallen around here since 1984.And that's one helluva lot of snow.Richard Carnes, of Edwards, can be reached at email@example.com.