A New England snow veteran's guide to surviving the snow season

PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH YAMASHITA   '22 | ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Kelly Coons ’22 offers a step-by-step guide to surviving winter in New England.

Kelly Coons ’22 offers a step-by-step guide to surviving winter in New England.

Kelly Coons ’22 | Assistant Opinions Editor

It happened. On November 15, 2018, it snowed in Northampton, Massachusetts. To us veterans, the clarion call has been issued. The New England snow season has begun. It will not snow every day. In fact, it may not snow again for a while.

Step one: Do not presume yourself to be more powerful than the weather. You cannot predict snow. You cannot control the snow. Do not expect the snow to bend to you. You must yield to the snow. If you haven’t already started, check the weather before you go outside. Personally, I check before I even take a shower. That way, I already have a weather-equipped outfit at the ready. That being said, the weather is not your enemy.

Step two: Even though you cannot control the snow, protect your self-esteem by pretending that you can. When I was a kid, I was told that if I wore my pajamas inside out, school would be canceled the next day due to snow. Engage in traditions like these. Rope your friends into the fun. Although they are rare, Smith does have snow days. Believe in snow days; they will give you hope through this sometimes harrowing time.

Step three: Do not be afraid to be comfortable. If you are walking around your house, feel free to wear a robe or heavy socks. When you go outside, do not try to appear “cooler” by wearing lighter clothes. Winter clothes can look ugly and bulky but embrace it. Layers are key. That way, when you are outside, you can stay warm, but when you are in class, you are not sweating to death.

Step four: Eat winter food. I always enjoy hot chocolate on snowy days. Soup is another warm option for cold winter days. Alternatively, you can eat something cold, like ice cream, to feel superior over nature.

Step five: Get festive! Snow heralds the holiday season. Decorate! Celebrate! As soon as it starts snowing, I start listening to Christmas music.

Step six: Play in the snow! Winter is my favorite season, so I would be remiss to not mention my favorite snow activities. As far back as I can remember, I have adored sledding. In my town, and in towns across New England, there are parks with hills, where families go sledding. At my local park, there is a hill that decreases in steepness as it goes to the right, providing a perfect gradient in intensity. My twin brother was a cautious child, so he started on the right, but by the end of the day, he was at the steepest part of the hill, joining every other kid in the area. Parents always fretted, but honestly, the hill was not steep. The only time I recall someone getting hurt was when I let go of the sled because my hat flew away. I slipped out and landed on my nose. My nose was fine, but I think I blew through an entire tissue box at my house because it would not stop running. I think I dislodged a whole cold-and-flu season’s worth of material from there. Do not let my story discourage you. It allowed me to breathe freely while the rest of my family sniffled.

I also love building things in the snow. I would say that I am an experienced architect of snow fortresses but that would be a lie. I used the piles of snow my parents made as they were shoveling the driveway. Most of the time, I would not even make any additions to it. That would be too much work. My twin brother, on the other hand, was dedicated to his craft. That was why he always beat me at snowball fights. He would actually take the time to make snowballs instead of scavenging snow bits to use. I remember finding an abandoned first third of a snowman in the park. I rolled it once then claimed it as my own creation: the mighty snow cylinder! My brother was amazed by my sudden burst of creativity, but everyone in the park knew better. That is why you must protect your territory. If you do not, terrible little children like me will plagiarize your work.

If this year’s New England winter will be your first, take these tips with you; they are an invaluable tool to beat the blues of the bitter cold.