Huge snowfall on Skopelos Island, Greece

The snow was predicted to blow in from Siberia days before it arrived. We received a tiny amount of snow last week but nothing compared to what was to come. After a silent night I pulled back the curtain and the snow had already fallen. It wasn’t much, just a nice dusting everywhere and we were quick to go out and take lots of photos, which is just laughable when I look out the window now. 

It began snowing again in the afternoon and into the evening. Every time I looked out the window another centimetre had set, then we began counting in inches….and eventually in feet. We turned the lights on outside and our terrace was caked in snow; pure and white against the jet-black night sky. 

It didn’t stop snowing all night and when we woke up there was a foot of fresh powder. It was bizarre. We were on a Greek island, places by the sea don’t usually get much snow and if they do then the warm, salty air from the sea melts it quickly. It was actually really dry, powdery snow though, so the worst sort for snowman making. The trees and bushes had such heavy clumps of snow wrapped around them that it looked more like the Arctic than the Mediterranean. The lemon and orange trees were snow covered too which looked so odd.

We were there to house sit, so we headed out and turned all the heaters on for the third day in a row to keep all the properties dry. We had fun sinking through the snow on every step and taking photos as we wandered around the grounds. It wasn’t all fun and games though and our first issue came when the washing machine didn’t fill up with water. It flashed H20 and we checked the taps in the main house and they too weren’t working. The pipes had frozen, but luckily the one to our cottage was still running. So I had to hand wash all our laundry as it was covered in detergent. That wasn’t so fun. Our next challenge was trying to get into the locked properties. Once I made it up the slope of snow, trying to work out where the steps were below me, I fumbled with the key. I tried it one way, then the next, then I checked the tag on it, it was the right key but it didn’t fit. Then Craig found me and said I’d given him the wrong key for the office. They were all the right keys but the locks had frozen shut.

The rest of the day stayed dry, and Craig attempted to make an igloo. It was like he’d forgotten what an igloo looked like as he failed to curve it in to make a dome shape. I kept peeking out the window and cackling at what looked to be the worlds first leaning tower of Pisa igloo. It was about 7 feet tall, full of cracks and fractures, weakened and leaning, and it didn’t even have a roof to it. Once he’d finished making his ‘masterpiece’ he came inside and winced every time he heard a big bang as his igloo gave way and collapsed. 

The sun actually made an appearance at the end of the day and pierced through the storm clouds. It was a perfect time as the sun was setting so the snow-covered garden glowed pink and it felt like the worst of the weather was over. Don’t get me wrong, we loved the experience, the scenery looks incredible and it was a very unique experience witnessing snow in Greece, but maybe that was enough snow for us. The novelty was wearing off. 

The next day we woke to frozen pipes too. We had saved a couple pans of water incase this happened but we wanted some water for washing up and flushing the toilet so we started melting pans of snow atop the fire. We were getting such little water from the fluffy snow so Craig grabbed a large laundry bowl, filled it with his collapsed igloo blocks and popped it in front of the fire to slowly melt. I googled some techniques to deal with frozen pipes and one was soaking a towel in hot water and wrapping it around the pipes. It worked within a couple of minutes which I was relieved about. 

The final snow day was January the 10th, when we woke to a blizzard. It was a total white-out and felt like Groundhog Day. A fresh foot of sticky wet snow had fallen over night and there was no signs of it stopping. We tried walking into the village yesterday as we needed some bread and eggs but the road (narrow alley) had been partially plowed and left un-salted so it was a sheet of ice and far too dangerous to walk on. Today was much easier as the snow was grippy to walk through…I say walk but at times it felt like we were swimming through a snowy ball-pit. The alley leading from our house to the road had a meter of snow in it. We sunk up to our thighs and it was all very humorous. The village was silent, and I was sceptical about the shops being open. The roofs had 2 feet of snow piled atop them like freshly iced cakes, doorways were snowed-in and icicles over a meter long drooped down from the gutters. Snow blew into our faces as we trudged through the alley, heavy footed like gremlins were weighing our feet down. It felt quite apocalyptic walking in white-out conditions through the silent village. The alleys were so untouched, like we were the only people outside so we decided to make the most of it and I did a running jump and dive into a fluffy snow pile. My natural instincts kicked in and I couldn’t believe I actually held my nose on the jump, as if it was deep water!!

Much to our excitement the bakery was open and the jolly worker kindly gave us a free bagel with our bread. Craig wanted to walk to the hardware store to buy some screws for an art project so we continued to the far end of the village where we joined the main island road. It hadn’t been plowed and was thick with snow, minus a few tire marks. I told Craig to be careful incase a car comes along and he laughed saying that no cars would be coming and did the most dramatic practice jump incase one did. He literally shouted ‘Car!’ dropped the bag of bread in the road and threw his body backwards to land in the snow.

As we reached the alley back to our house our next door neighbour asked if we were OK and if we needed anything. We said we were fine and he demanded we come in for coffee. It was really sweet though, his wife welcomed us in and placed our soaked gloves and hats by the lovely open fire. She made us a delicious Greek coffee and gave us a slice of cake each. It was so tasty, I don’t know if she’d made it herself, but it was like a moist polenta cake, flavoured with orange zest and chocolate chunks. The news was playing in the background and we chatted about the weather. It was the biggest snowfall our neighbours had ever seen while living here. Apparently it’s the biggest snowfall Skopelos Island has had in over 100 years! What a time for us to visit! On the tv was a news reporter on Alonissos Island, it was sunny and the man was filming the feet of snow right on the beach. Alonissos was receiving a mix of sun and rain today, yet there we were, just 3 miles away on Skopelos Island experiencing a blizzard outside! Lavros our neighbour, pointed at the tv and showed a big grey area of clouds in the distance behind the news reporter “that is Skopelos” he said, “we are in those cloud”. It was ever so sweet of them to invite us into their home. I didn’t catch the wife’s name as it was a tricky one to remember, but she was ever so hospitable, gave us slippers to wear and insisted we had another slice of cake. We both said no to more cake and she excitedly respond “YES! More more!” it was so funny. 

Once back at our house we began to plow a walkway. An hour and a half later and almost another foot of snow had fallen. The power flicked on and off, taunting us until it eventually did its most dramatic flicker yet and just stayed off. Geez, so that’s it, no power. Last time this happened on Skopelos it remained off for a week, I really hope that doesn’t happen.

A tall tree outside that resembled a lanky Christmas tree was caked in snow and quickly began to bend under the weight. We tried shaking the snow off, Craig even got up on a ladder to shake it off but it wasn’t working and the tree eventually bent over like a rainbow. We tried our best to clear some paths, remove snow from the sun-beds, tables and plants but they all became covered again. We decided to take some funny photos instead and I braved the cold in a bikini, lounging on the sun-bed and even jumping in the snow. It was fine as I knew I could have a hot shower afterwards. I presumed it was a gas boiler for the water, turns out it was electric so we only had cold water and I just had to bundle up besides the fire. 

In the afternoon Craig attempted to make, to quote, “the worlds largest snowman”. I wanted to make a normal snowman but Craig can be overly ambitious, to say the least, and there I was, trying to lift up a ball of snow as heavy as me and I was getting really annoyed “this is stupid! Why can’t we make a normal one? This is going to look as shit as your bloody igloo tower!”. I was pretty happy when the weight of that ball destroyed the ball below it and finally Craig realised he was being too optimistic. It was probably the biggest snowman in Glossa village though and stood about 7ft tall and staring straight into our bedroom window like the village pervert. We had a very old fashioned evening, reading books under the glow of a lantern and cooking on a basic camping stove. The big thaw is due to hit us shortly and with it maybe some flooding in certain areas. Fingers crossed the power comes back soon and we’re hoping for some of that Mediterranean sunshine to warm us up. 

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