Birds are the primary readers of Ursine Geographic (a monthly publication with a December-to-March hiatus), and for the most part they also give up on the northern climes during this time, except for some of the more poverty-stricken species, who cannot afford a subscription. Sparrows, for example, usually have no choice but to winter where they are at, due to the high cost of rental space in southern trees. By default, they have become the primary cartographers of winter; however, unlike the bears, they have established no central office, so the same feature may have as many as 12,000 names, depending upon the creativity of the local sparrow population.
Humans, who because of their failing educational system generally do not read or speak either Bear or Sparrow, are often unprepared for the vicissitudes of winter travel. They have been known to complain about the sudden increase in travel times which snow causes. (See our previous publication, Winter Survival Tips, A PAMPHLET, for some reasons why talking about the weather is a bad idea.) Humans are apparently unaware that snow actually increases the physical distance between two points. If it takes you twice as long to get to work, that is because your work is now twice as far away. Don't talk to us about the laws of physics. Snow and physics are mortal enemies, and Red snow marks the spot where the two have recently had a knife fight.
Some of the important snow-based geographical features that you should be aware of are:
SNOW MOUNTAINS: Usually named for a local landmark, or for the plow responsible for their creation, snow mountains are really just hills to anyone but a sparrow. Still, they have been known to hold secrets, such as plateaus upon which open-air teahouses operate, secret treasures of an ambiguous nature, and the occasional sleeping Yeti. Watch out for confused goats.
SNOW CAVES: Mostly built by children, or occurring naturally under picnic tables, once abandoned these become hostels for itinerant raccoons and interior designers (the guild requires apprentices to practice in found spaces before allowing them to graduate to journeyman). Cozy, but structurally unsound, and with poor cell reception. Those with a sensitivity to taupe should tunnel on by.
SNOW VALLEYS: Usually discovered in the course of taking a "shortcut" (the word has no meaning in a winter context), these are considered mythical by some, and little wonder. Reports of secret squirrel councils (as opposed to Secret Squirrel councils, in which the world nut trade is manipulated) and hidden camps of domestic terrorist lifeguards are among the wilder stories told by those who have stumbled upon them. It is believed that in one of these valleys the real George Lucas lives, plotting the eventual overthrow of the android who usurped his place so many years ago.
SNOW MEGAPLEXES: For reasons which are unclear, movie theaters created by the snow never have fewer than eight screens. Admission can usually be had for the price of glove lint, but since the only movie ever shown is The Chronicles of Riddick they are sparsely attended and always go out of business well before the thaw.
SNOW SALOONS: Populated by outlaw snowmen and -women, these locations are notable for their gunplay, cheap whiskey, and soggy playing cards. Tip: if the piano player isn't too drunk, you may be able to get a seasonal sing-along going, but only if you don't disturb the poker game.
As always, when lost in the snow your best bet is to follow a sparrow home. If you are unable to fly, we advise you to carry flares, and chocolate for distracting the wolves.