’Tis the season to be chilly. And while many students are new to the Minnesota climate, the cold weather and the snow often drive even Minnesota natives to hide away and try to stay inside. What many don’t realize, though, is that it’s easier to stay warm than you may think, and there is also a plethora of winter activities to participate in. You can find a way to enjoy the weather and truly experience a Minnesota winter.
Staying warm is one of the hardest things many of us will try to do this winter, especially with less transportation to get us around campus. This coming semester, commuting on foot in the snow will probably be the most popular way for University of Minnesota students to get to class, so a nice pair of winter boots is a must. Try carrying an extra pair of shoes in your backpack if you absolutely need to, but as far as walking outside, winter boots are the only way to go. And of course, hats, earmuffs, winter coats, gloves and scarves are necessary pieces for your wardrobe, as the snow will soon be approaching, and its visit will be long.
Also, the University has a system of tunnels that run underground and skyways that connect many classroom buildings called the Gopher Way. While walking through tunnels may sometimes make your walking commute a little longer, it is a great way to stay warm without having to walk outside unless absolutely necessary. Maps of the Gopher Way system are posted on walls in the buildings it connects, and you can also find a map online by typing “Gopher Way Walking Guide” into the search bar on the University’s home page. Don’t forget: The Washington Avenue Bridge has a heated indoor component as well.
Having lived in Minneapolis for 21 years now, I’ve learned the trick to surviving the winter really is bundling up. It makes a world of difference, especially when wind chill hits 30 degrees below zero. Sure you may have to spend a little extra money, and you may have to sacrifice showing off your best outfits, but it sure beats a set of frost bitten fingers.
As for those of us who are drivers, keep a window ice scraper and a brush for removing snow and ice build up after parking outside and a small shovel in case you ever get stuck in the snow. As impossible as these situations seem, they happen, and it’s best to be prepared. Also, if staying at an apartment complex, check and see if garage parking is available as this also makes a world of difference when the snow approaches.
Aside from just surviving on campus and commuting, there are also many activities to do outside in the cold, especially in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. Ice skating and ice fishing are very popular, not to mention skiing, sledding, even just plain old playing in the snow. One of the biggest winter events around is the Winter Festival that takes place in St. Paul, our neighboring city, and is famous for its magnificent ice palaces and light show. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time indoors.
Here at the University there are also student groups to get involved in that revolve around winter activities, including the Alpine Ski Team and the Ski and Snowboard Club, both of which can be found on the University’s Student Unions and Activities website.
So as the cold is getting nearer, don’t shy away — instead, get excited. Staying warm and keeping up with available activities are the best things we can do to make it through what will be a long winter season. So have no fear, grab a cup of cider or hot cocoa and get ready for a fun Minnesota winter.
Tiffany Trawick welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.