February is going strong here in Minnesota. We’re having a warm spell this winter, it’s been above freezing several days in a row! Usually we don’t start to thaw until well into March. Whenever we talk to folks outside of Minnesota they always ask us how we can stand the winters up here, so this month’s blog post is dedicated to Minnesota winters!
Alright, cold news first. Winter in Minnesota starts right around Thanksgiving and typically doesn’t end until well into March. The average temperature in the Twin Cities, where we live, is around 25 degrees in the winter, in January that drops to an average of about 15 degrees. The coldest we have ever experienced was in the winter of 1996 when it was -32 degrees (that’s 32 degrees below zero). The Governor of Minnesota canceled school that day because it was so cold across the state. Kristia still went outside to go over to her friend’s house anyway (because she’s crazy like that). We also get quite a bit of snow in the winter, the average snowfall is just under four feet of snow. The biggest one day snowfall that Mike & I remember was the Halloween Snowstorm of 1991 when we got over two feet of snow! So with all that cold and snow, how do we survive?
We embrace it!
You get a good solid winter coat & outfit. Then you figure out things to do when it’s cold outside.
Kristia loves to go outside to downhill ski & ice skate.
Mike gets a good stash of books to read on the couch & gets his steam account set to play video games.
We have season tickets to go out to the theater throughout the winter. The Twin Cities has the second largest number of theater seats per capita in the US (just after New York).
We get together with friends to play board games & visit.
We have a gas fireplace & lots of hot chocolate inside to warm up.
If we go to either downtown we can use the skyway system to get from building to building. At the University of Minnesota, where Kristia works, there’s even an underground system called the Gopher Way!
There’s also the St Paul Winter Carnival! Mike’s parents met at the Winter Carnival and Kristia still likes to go to the parades & see the outdoor ice sculptures!
Winter for us is just another season, albeit a cold one. It’s fun to go outside and play in the snow and what better excuse to curl up by the fire than a cold winter’s day.
Some people think “Minnesota Nice” comes from us all suffering through winter together. Some of this is true. Everyone helps shovel out their neighbors when it snows. If there is someone in a parking lot whose car won’t start, there will be a rush to see who gets to give their car a jump first. Winter coat charity drives are popular in the fall as it’s very important that everyone has a warm coat that fits. We all band together to get through. It’s not uncommon to pass someone on a cold day and have them tell you “just a bit farther, you’ll make it” or have them joke “cold enough for ya?”
Kids aren’t exempt from the cold either. You learn to bundle up from when you’re very young. The girl scouts out selling cookies this week all have their parkas on. Everyone invites the girls into their entryway to warm up for a bit while they haggle over cookies. When babies are around we tend to take a page from the nordic countries and haul the kids with us. There are great polar fleece car seat covers and we plan to get our baby an icelandic wool seal outfit. They’ll be nice and toasty every time we head outside.