Winter Wonderland: Survivor Edition

3 01 2011

Coming from the South, the Pacific Northwest’s concept of “winter” is a great, mysterious, frightening new thing.  I am not properly equipped to handle weeks at a time when temperatures never climb above freezing.  And by “properly equipped,” I mean mentally, physically, or wardrobe-ly.  Snow is pretty and fun to play in, but the biting wind is harsh and unforgiving.  And after the snow falls, the roads are terrible, the sidewalks almost impassable, and my car won’t start due to a dead battery.

I now live in Oregon, which gets frigidly cold, but I realize it could be so much worse.  I’m determined to make the most of it and learn to love it, since I have come to love this area of the country and may never leave it.

Here are a few things I have discovered are essential for survival:

snow boot1) Snow boots.  And not the pansy, fluffy, froo-froo kind that look cute but actually have no sole on them.  I’m talking monster tread, fully insulated, water-proof and kick-ass.  They might look a bit masculine, but they will get you through any weather that comes along.  (I walk to work, and about everywhere, so this is extra important for me.)  Good boots could mean the difference between an enjoyable hike or frostbitten toes after 6 miles of hiking through the badlands.  All your friends could hate you for constantly whining or love you for being so fun and adventurous.  And your face will thank you when you maneuver across the icy ground after a warm day melts the snow and the night re-freezes it without taking a plunge and attempting to eat asphalt…


winter hats2) Accessories.  A coat, pants, and other pieces are necessary, but usually make you feel bulky and tired since you have to take them on and off every time you go in and out of buildings.  But accessories, such as scarves, hats, gloves, and tights can add color, fun, and pizazz to your drab winter layers.  The wilder the better.  Crazy colors, wild patterns, and goofy styles will make you want to go outside just so you get to wear the fun.

fun gloves

cross country skiing3) An activity.  You need something to keep you busy and active so you don’t turn into a marshmallow.  If you let this happen, you won’t be able to enjoy the summer! (And no one wants to look like a marshmallow.)  Last winter I tried cross country skiing.  I really loved it.  The warming huts were always full of fun new people to meet.  We often went after work in the dark, so I got to experience the snowy forest by headlamp.  Magical!  And I had a blast with people who have since become good friends.

snowboarding icon
This year, I have a new goal: learn to snowboard!  Mt Bachelor has an awesome program for newbies called the Ride In Five.  For $200, you get 5 lessons, plus the rentals and lift tickets to go with them.  Then I’ll also get half off next year’s season pass!  Bachelor’s season passes are crazy-expensive (maybe I’m just broke, but $1000 is a lot to me) and I have a feeling I’m going to be addicted.  Well, if I don’t kill myself in the process….




So, boots: check; fun accessories: check; distracting activity: check.  Look out winter, I plan to DOMINATE YOU!!




Give it to me straight -

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