The answer depends on the year, but usually between 5 and 10 feet.
I used to say “I never want to live somewhere where the snow is deeper than I am tall“. Ha! I didn’t know what I was missing!
If anything, the snow makes life up here easier. Winter is the time of hibernation. It’s the months without snow that are a frantic scurry of manual labor and stockpiling resources. The first few snows of the season, those first few freezes, are both a stressful and welcome event. Prep time has run out, but hibernation is about to begin.
The hardest part might be acclimating to penguin-like winter getups and daily foot-prison. Boots may be warm and practical in the snow, but anyone who knows me knows naked feet are my only comfort zone. But once I’ve got the bundle-up routine down, plunging out into a fresh load of powder each morning is exciting. With proper clothing you’re as comfortable as the animals of the forest. With every daily outing into the snow we pack new and old trails alike, so we are always traveling on top of the snow (which becomes humorous when come February you realize you’re level with a roof top). We drag our loads around fairly effortlessly in sleds- and occas
Granted it’s not all hibernation all the time. Each day we have to chop about 100 pounds of wood into fine kindling for the finicky little wood cooktop stove, which heats the house, cooks the food, and makes beautiful, wonderful piping-hot water. We have to service and run the generator if the sun isn’t out and the batteries are feeling sad, as they often are. You know, so I can do things like run grow lights for my indoor garden and the computer to maintain Etsy, Ebay, and this website.
Each day we must take a hatchet to a frozen carcass (usually salvaged roadkill deer) and make sure the dogs are fed. We chop the entire deer (minus the skull) from neck to pelvis to hoof into 1 or 2 inch chunks; hair, bone, and all. The dogs consume virtually 100% of the animal, with a little help from the cats, the ravens and jays, and a few other sneaky and opportunistic mountain denizens.
Our friends in the barnyard get deliveries of fresh hot water and kitchen vegetable scraps alongside their usual winter rations of hay and grains. Milking the goat(s) in the morning and evening get me out of the house (sometimes more than I’d like) no matter what the weather or temperature. It’s good discipline, right? Or maybe we just like milk and cheese that much.
Of course we might otherwise get away with not leaving the mountain top all winter long if it weren’t for my online sales. So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I eat breakfast, pack my orders, one of us milks the goat(s), and we head down the mountain on foot, snowmobile, or vehicle (depending on the snow conditions) in hopes of beating the mail lady to the mailbox (which is almost 10 miles from home).
You know what? I’m not sure I’ve yet had an unpleasant or unwelcome snowmobile ride up or down the mountain. Assuming you’re dressed properly, buzzing down mile after mile of winding mountain road, quiet and largely uninhabited by other humans, is always magical. The snow changes the forest every day, fresh tracks abound, telling me who and what comes and goes. Every ridge and draw looks like a postcard. I’d take more photos but cameras like to not work when it’s below freezing, darn it.