We are more than half way through the 2010-2011 season, and for the first time since our opening, we have been granted a little relief from the brutal cold that has dominated the winter. At the moment, it is a balmy 43 degrees, and watching everyone peal off layer after layer of insulated clothing, I swear that if they could they would be out their in bathing suits. So what is it about the annual midwinter thaw (that is just a little late this year) that pushes us all into spring fever? My curiosity compelled me to do a little research on the topic: Is spring fever real or is it just an excuse? Here is the best answer I found:
“Spring fever, that reputed and seemingly infectious malady that strikes when the days lengthen and temperatures begin to climb, has been blamed for feverish bouts of house-cleaning, restless behavior in the classroom, distraction in meetings and love struck dazes.
Some scientists think spring fever is more than just a colloquialism — they think it’s a constellation of symptoms brought about by hormonal changes in the body.
In winter, the body secretes high levels of melatonin, a hormone that governs sleep-wake cycles. Come spring, the increasing amount of daylight is registered by light-sensitive tissue in the eye, which signals the brain to stop secreting so much melatonin. As the hormone’s levels drop off, greater wakefulness results.
On the other hand, levels of another chemical, serotonin, rise in spring. This mood-elevating neurotransmitter may be at the root of the giddiness, energy boost and enthusiasm that characterize spring fever.
Anthropologists have suggested that spring fever may have developed over the course of human evolution. They point out that early humans often spent winter in a state of near-hibernation. Then, when spring arrived, they would enter an active period of intense hunting, gathering and procreating.” LA Times, March 31, 2008 |Elena Conis | Special to The Times
So there you have it: spring fever does seem to be grounded in some scientific truths. So go ahead and peal of the layers while you have the chance and blame it on the “fever”. I can think of no better excuse to take in a day of quasi-spring skiing!