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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

A week in the life of a below-zero adventurer

Jordan Price
Posted 2/17/21

Going outside in below zero weather is not for the faint of heart. But I recently wrote here that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, so I figured I would need to make good …

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A week in the life of a below-zero adventurer

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Going outside in below zero weather is not for the faint of heart. But I recently wrote here that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, so I figured I would need to make good on those words by sucking it up and getting out there. That said, I truly underestimated the power of Mother Nature in the North Country.
Last Monday, I pulled up the weather app on my phone and there it read, minus 16 degrees. “Ok, Jordan. You’ve heard that there is proper clothing for this type of weather, but do you actually own any of it?” I semi-jokingly asked myself. After some quality Googling, I realized it’s more about light wool layering than anything. Fortunately, I did have the right clothing, so I knew I was ready for the cold week ahead of me.
The first activity I did this week was go for a 30-minute run. It may sound overly simple, but I tend to think of running as a summer activity. In all honesty, I was on the phone with my dad and asked him to give me an activity. “It’s simple, Jordan. Go for a run,” he said. “I’m going to need different shoes for that, Dad. There’s no way my Brooks can keep in the heat. Also, I think I’ll look like the abominable snowman running down the road,” I responded. “Strap on some toe warmers, apply cream to avoid frost-bite, wear wool socks, and your feet will be fine. Don’t forget your ski goggles,” he warned me. To my surprise, I stayed warm the entire time, and got in a great run. If you think running is only for the warmer months, give it a try in the winter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
On Wednesday, I went for a classic ski out at Hidden Valley with my friend Liz. For those following my adventures, you know that a few weeks back, I went backcountry skiing. I decided to try out the groomed trails this time and loved it. It was minus 8 degrees and before long I was actually sweating. I’ve never had my eyelashes freeze before, so that was a new experience. I made sure to take a few pictures for the memory. It was amazing to see the number of people out skiing in below-zero weather. It just shows that many people in the area really embrace the cold weather. Just remember, it really is all about the clothing.
On Saturday, I was back outdoors, going ice fishing with my fiancé, my friend Clara, and her husband Bradley for the very first time. One trend that I’ve wanted to take part in this winter, while living in the North Country, was boiling water into “snow” on a cold day. With a real temperature of minus 15 degrees, I knew it was the day. The icehouse I was fishing in had a stove, so we boiled some lake water, went outside, and threw it high into the air.
Science alert: Why does boiling water turn into “snow?” Well, first off, snow is not really being formed. Water quickly evaporates into a vapor that instantaneously condenses into a cloud; however, from the perspective of an outsider, it definitely just looks like a big snow cloud. Boiling water is actually closer to evaporating than ice-cold water, so when you throw boiling water into a very cold, dry atmosphere, the droplets are able to cool and evaporate in a cloud before they reach the ground. Note: If you decide to try this at home, make sure you throw the water well in front of you, or behind you, in case some of it doesn’t freeze. It was definitely a fun activity that I won’t soon forget about.
As for the ice fishing, well the fish really weren’t biting. but I really wasn’t disappointed whatsoever when we only had one bite in six hours. It was more for the experience. There’s something about being in a small 50-degree house, surrounded by ice and snow, with your friends, playing games, and talking about life. As for the fish, I’ll be back for you on a warmer day!
This week taught me three different lessons: (1) There really is clothing for every temperature change. (2) You can be a runner in the winter months. (3) The majority of people in this area don’t let the cold slow them down.
If you’re someone who wants to get outside during the cold snaps, but don’t really know where to start, make sure you have some good wool base layers and purchase some hand/feet warmers. Go at it with a positive mindset, and you’ll be surprised where you end up.

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