“On Halloween, everything was white. There was more than a foot of snow.” Don’t worry – that’s not a prediction from this year’s Farmers Almanac, but rather a depiction of one of the most memorable snowstorms in recent Minnesota history, according to Ashley Nepp, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) instructor and native Minnesotan. Nepp recalls taking the streets in her black cat costume that Halloween only to experience biting winds and driving snow instead of the usual crisp autumn air. A blizzard on Halloween? Well, let’s just say Minnesota has a bit of a history with something called snow (and don’t forget about cold).
“Everyone tells me [the winter] is awful,” said Chris Boranian ’19 of California. Many other first year students got the same memo, but is it really that bad? According to Nepp, who spent her early childhood years 150 miles north of Saint Paul in Duluth,
“It’s so much warmer down here.” Still, it gets pretty darn frosty at Macalester in the winter, so how can students combat polar vortexes and powerful precipitation?
Nepp recommends finding something you like about the winter. Whether it’s an outdoor hobby or a new TV show to follow, you need something to keep you from catching a case of the winter doldrums.
Secondly, wear layers, or perhaps five or six, as Hawaiian native Carmen Garson-Shumway ’18 does. She remembers once donning five or more shirts and jackets to prepare for a particularly frigid geography field trip, when the high for the day was negative two degrees Fahrenheit – yikes!
If you aren’t sure whether your winter attire is sufficient for the Twin Cities, there are plenty of stores supplying outerwear around Macalester, like Patagonia on Grand Avenue. Look for a heavy coat, fleeces/sweaters for layering, hats, gloves and scarves.
Also, be sure to get a durable pair of winter boots as well as some thick socks to keep your feet dry and insulated.
Thus, when winter rolls around, do not despair. Try some new movies on Netflix or a pair of ice skates – to each their own. Just remember to bundle up when the temperature really starts to drop, and if the future really starts to seem bleak, just be thankful you aren’t in Duluth. Happy winter!