Gettin’ Down With Winter

old-man-winter1Well, it looks like Old Man Winter is back in town. Skiers, cross- country skiers and snowboarders are madly in love with Winter.  Rational, wealthy people hate winter so much they leave the country whenever he comes to visit.

 Rational, poor  people hate Winter, too but they just have to hide indoors for 5 or 6 months until he leaves. While this is certainly a viable option, I think it’s also a mistake.

We tend to fear and dislike the unfamiliar so maybe if we get to know Winter on a more intimate basis, he won’t seem so horrible. Because I’ve heard he intends to come back pretty much every year.

Yes, I know Winter is grouchy and cold and miserable with a raw, biting wit that’s hard to take, but do we really make an effort to meet him half way?

For instance, Winter likes a well-turned out person. He hates and torments people who hobble along in sneakers or stiletto boots, in thin jackets without mittens or hats. I think you’ll find he’s a bit friendlier if you approach him with a fetching pair of warm, water-resistant boots with good sturdy soles; a good warm coat, mitts, a hat, a long colourful scarf and perhaps even a pair of warm snow pants for blizzardy days.  Oh, you might not think you look so good in such a get-up, but Old Man Winter will virtually melt when he gets a load of you all bundled up like that.

Next, how about getting out there to try  to really break through Winter’s brittle crust? You never know, there might be a playful softie underneath. Go for a walk with him once a day —  half an hour will do it – get acquainted; get your blood moving.

  • Or, buy the whole family a pair of those new aluminum snow shoes and spend one afternoon a week frolicking with Winter until your thighs burn.
  • Winter also loves a skater. Is there anything more bracing than skating outdoors? At night, under the lights, with music and a hot toddy waiting?  There is no shortage of outdoor skating in Ottawa. Toronto has Nathan Phillips Square and tons of other rinks in the districts.  Montreal has the Bonsecours Basin and other smaller rinks. If you live somewhere Winter visits, I’m sure you have outdoor rinks, too. Or make one in your back yard – invite the neighbours. Have plenty of fortifying beverages on hand.
  •  Go sledding or tobogganing.
  •  Get creative and make an igloo or snow sculptures in your front yard that people will take pictures of. Snow benches or snow chairs are especially fun because people will come by and sit on them and you’ll make new friends.  Offer fortifying beverages.
  • Have a picnic at a park or campground with firepits and roast wienies and marshmallows.
  • Make friends with someone with an outdoor hot-tub. Again, fortifying beverages will enhance the experience, as they will most, if not all,  winter experiences.
  •  Go take pictures of wildlife in the local parks – they’re all big and fluffy this time of year. (But don’t feed them, especially not with bread or they’ll get bloated and die and ruin your photographs).
  • Go shovel snow for old people. Do it for free. Refuse any offers of money or treats. They’ll be suspicious, but just tell them to suck it up.

By now everyone reading this who lives somewhere Winter doesn’t visit, is pea green with envy at all the fun they’re missing.

I don’t love winter, but we get along okay. I give him a bit of quality time every day and it seems to do the trick.

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25 responses to “Gettin’ Down With Winter

  1. Boy I sure envy you people up there where winter really lives. No frozen ponds here, no snow, it is a bit chillish though so I’m not going out today. I tried the cross country sking thing once but they don’t slide so well on grass.

  2. Oh as harsh as your winters are, at least you know where you are with yours. Here: Monday/Tuesday=snow. Wed/Thursday=driving rain, forecast for weekend=more snow, but maybe not, maybe rain. Who knows?

    I’d have proper, staying, no melting, non-slushy snow any day. Plus my dog loves it. Trouble is he is indifferent to rain and still expects me to take him out in it.

  3. I thought I would be gloating about the lack of winter here in Vancouver … but I actually miss the cold back home. Guess the expression is right – the grass is always greener … or snowier in this case?

  4. Thank you for this:
    “For instance, Winter likes a well-turned out person. He hates and torments people who hobble along in sneakers or stiletto boots, in thin jackets without mittens or hats. I think you’ll find he’s a bit friendlier if you approach him with a fetching pair of warm, water-resistant boots with good sturdy soles; a good warm coat, mitts, a hat, a long colourful scarf and perhaps even a pair of warm snow pants for blizzardy days. Oh, you might not think you look so good in such a get-up, but Old Man Winter will virtually melt when he gets a load of you all bundled up like that.”

    So true!

    I have always lived with winter in MN, it gets to be so bitterly cold that no one should be out ice skating; but only SOME days! Like, 4 or 5!

    I try to work with winter. For example, I got some cute new mittens this week and I have some fun boots that I like and a great hat and scarf that I love to wear.

    I really try not to complain about it, because that does not make it any warmer- did you know that? Plus, I could move if I really, really wanted to.

    Some people I know who were forced by love or money to move here as adults say, “I love it here! I hate the winter but the trade offs are worth it. I think the cold keeps the riff raff out.” Of course I know lovely people who moved away and that is a loss that I understand.

    Now it is 23 degrees and windy and I am off to a bus stop with no shelter, so anyone I have offended can take stock in that!

  5. Bandobras – Now, I know perfectly well that ya’ll get snow down yonder, too. We haven’t actually had to much snow or cold weather yet…I’m just getting psyched up

    Misssy M – That’s actually what our winter has been like so far, too, but we’re expecting a week of cold and snow ahead, so the good, slushy times may be behind us for a few months. I remember Halifax was like you describe every winter. Not much fun.

    Tania – Well, Ottawa certainly grabs winter by the balls and doesn’t let go until spring, I must say. I kind of like that — better than that wishy washy winter we used to have on the east coast.

    Missy – Ya one of the problems with skating outside is the ice is only good when the weather is really cold, but there’s a fine line between that and it being too freakin’ cold to be out for too long. We have the awesome Rideau Canal to skate on in the winter — the world’s longest skating rink!!

  6. I’ve always loved cold weather best so Winter and I are quite comfortable with each other. Like you said, he isn’t so tough if you learn to work with him.

  7. Just discovered your blog today and I think you definitely deserve Best New Canadian Blog! (I’m so new at this that I didn’t even know those awards existed!)
    But about this post: I’ve lived my whole life in the Vancouver area, so I had never experienced Winter with a capital W till last February when I had the chance to go to Québec for 2 weeks for Carnaval. I was so worried about being cold, but to my astonishnent, I managed just fine with long underwear, a tuque, proper mittens, ski pants, and a down jacket. I really enjoyed the cold weather – or at least I know how to dress for it now!

  8. We used to have winter in Vancouver. I remember outdoor skating every year, and building huge snowmen. And snow days… and sledding down Lathom Road Hill… and bundling up in snowsuits with 23 buttons down each leg…

    Now we have Christmas lights on our palm trees. *sigh*

  9. If I read you correctly, the most important message seems to be, “have a fortifying beverage”. I can do that.

  10. Debra – Ya, he’s like your crusty old uncle who turns out to be quite a fun guy when you give him a chance

    Nat – I’m not sure I could say I like winter better than summer, because I really like summer, but I can deal with winter. What’s your body doing to you? Let’s talk – just because Po3 isn’t available for a while doesn’t mean we can’t hang out some time.

    Pinklea – Thanks!! And thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment and saying nice stuff. Winter can be awesome if you’re dressed for it. And Quebec Winter Carnival is the best.

    Jo – What happened? Global warming or was it a political thing? I like it that we have some very distinct seasons. One thing I missed when I was in Halifax was seasons — the whole year just sort of blended together in one soggy, chilly mess.

    Deb – I’m glad the message was clear. Fortifying beverages are crutial. Come enjoy winter.

  11. Winter and I broke up last March. I’d had enough and I wanted to see other people, like Spring. But maybe I’ll give him another chance.

    If you want to like winter, have kids. Then you are forced to build snow forts and snowmen and go tobogganing and skating, and you’ll probably find that you like it a lot.

    And I second the fortifying beverages idea.

  12. When I was your age, we’d go outside and get bowls full of snow, and then Mom would pour vanilla and sugar on it for a nice treat. Alas, the threat of pollution prevents us from enjoying this today. At least we have Baxin Robbins.

  13. Pingback: Gimme a break! | Los Ziegler en Canada

  14. Alison – Yes, I seem to remember that break-up.. worthy of E-Talk Now!!! And, absolutely the fortifying beverages make the skating, et al endurable

    Brad – You old timers sure had fun back in the day — snow with vanilla and sugar…the very idea!

    LDG – HA! We were just talking about that today at work where it was minus 20 something Celcius (give or take a few degrees in windchill factor) and watching the smokers out there wondering how with all the discipline and dedication it takes to get all bundled up 20 times a day and stand out in a blizzard for a smoke why they don’t channel that into quitting.

  15. i am pea green and missing that kind of fun in the snow 🙂

    the good thing about where we live is that when it does snow (rarely) it’s usually over in a day or two.

    having lived in ct and ma, that was more than enough snow for me to live with day in and day out.

  16. Violetsky – Well, we sure get more than our fair share up here. I guess Winter’s also something of a lazy bastard and doesn’t like travelling when it’s cold.

    DP – Really? I think I’d miss winter if I lived in a moderate climate all the time. In fact, I missed winter living in Halifax where it never really got cold and snowy except for a few days here and there. I reckon if we’re going to have a season, let’s go all out — cold and snowy in winter; hot and humid in summer.

  17. I have tried. I have tried desperately, but I can’t find it in myself to like winter even one tiny bit.

    Seriously, I did try! I even bought cross country skis and snowshoes.

    Never worked.

  18. Jazz – Well, he can’t help but rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps the two of you just aren’t meant to be.

    Lesley – Poor child. Poor deprived child. Never to have experienced the joys of the changing seasons. Think of how many more clothes you could buy if you needed stuff for temperatures ranging from 90 degrees down to minus 20.

  19. I’m discovering a new dimension to winter this year, winter running 🙂 let me tell you, there is something very strange running up Bay Street in the wind tunnel and you feel like you’re running on sand while your tights are slowly getting numb. But the incredible feeling you get when you come back after your 10k in the cold/snow is incredible. I’m very much looking forward to my new experiences this winter.

    Of course, as you say, wearing the right gear is key. I’m a walker so wearing hat/toque, scarf, mitts (they’re warmer than gloves) WITH them little warming pads in -25 degrees temps, the ever important layers and good boots are part of my daily routine. And I’ve bitched and complained about street corners where you get a few inches of slush that you have to, hopefully gracefully, jump over it. All I know is that one day, it gets better and the warm temps will be once again with us. Meanwhile, I enjoy winter and all it has to offer.

  20. UA – good for you and yes, running in winter is full of interesting challenges. One of the funnest runs I ever did was in the middle of a heavy snow fall/storm on Toronto Island. I oculdn’t see 2 feet in front of me and I was running through at least 3 feet of snow – but it was the lightest fluffiest snow ever. Like running on a cold cloud

  21. 7 degrees out right now… o with wind chill its -15.. sunny.

    winter sucks because you cant do anything outside without putting on over ten different pieces of clothing, also everything gets either wet, dirty, or muddy(wet and dirty), no simple pleasure like enjoying a pipe outside in the chair while sippin on some rum. in winter its all about get to the fucking heater, and playing outside in winter sucks you’ll get cold and uncomfortable outside and be all sweaty and warm when you get into the house after you take ur gear off. car is always dirty inside and out and caked on layers of dirt pile up and freeze with moisture. a car wash lasts 2 days before being caked with brown snow again. you can only walk in about 5% of the places you could in summer and drive in about 80% of the roads.. electronics work better in winter but after a certain temp they can start to freeze up. you have to wait to do anything (either put on all your gear, or wait for the car to warm up/charge up if its really cold)