Are you heading to Minnesota anytime soon? If so, there are a few things you should know about a Minnesota winter: They are long and cold and definitely memorable. It’s true that people who live here make the most of their cold months by hitting the outdoors for skiing, sledding, hockey ice skating and the indoor Mall of America. But it you’re coming for a visit, there are a few tips you should know before packing your bags.
Today we have Denver-based journalist and blogger Jason Hussong offering our readers tips on surviving those bone-chilling temperatures. Jason grew up in Minnesota and was recently back in the Twin Cities for a visit. He knows first-hand what to expect. He’s been coaching me during our move to Minnesota from toasty Arizona. He offers such valuable advice, I asked if he would share some tips with our readers and he kindly agreed.
Here are Jason’s tips for surviving a Minnesota winter:
Dress smart and in layers. First off, make sure to monitor the weather reports during the colder months. Sometimes there are freeze advisories. The first type of advisory would be where you’d have to make sure every single spot on your body was covered when you go outside or you’ll instantly get frost bite. This doesn’t happen too often in the Cities, generally more up north, but it can happen. My first winter visiting back home after moving to Denver I remember it was somewhere around -80 with wind chill. That was a bit of a freak incident, but it can happen and you need to be very careful.
In regards to the layers, a layer of heat is trapped in between each layer of clothing and thus helping to keep you warmer. You’re going to want to start out with a small layer, for instance long underwear over regular underwear, to keep your body warm. From there, say it’s a casual day, you’d could wear a t-shirt and then a sweatshirt along with a coat. So there you’d have five layers total on helping keep the heat in…undies, long undies, tshirt, sweatshirt and then a coat. Wool and silk are the best types of fabric to keep heat in.
For the feet. Wear regular little anklet socks along with wool socks on top and then your boots. These should be waterproof as well so you don’t get wet tootsies.
For the hands. Wear thin gloves, like a golf or batting glove style, and then mittens. Unless it’s a warmer day, above zero, NEVER wear regular gloves. If it’s really cold out and you go outside you should always, always, always wear mittens. Mittens help keep the heat in better since you have four fingers, as the thumb is detached, in one pocket opposed to five separate holes for the digits. And if you have thin glove on under those, that always helps with things too…especially if you need to take off the mitten for any reason.
For the head. The majority of heat lost from your body will be from your head. Think of those football guys sitting outside with the steaming heads at the games in the winter. They’re losing heat. You need to make sure to have a good, thick wool stocking cap or took, the ones with the ear flaps, for when you go out. You never want to just wear ear muffs outside since that does nothing but keep your ears from going numb. Of course, it’s not bad to have them, too.
Great tip: Don’t drink any hot drinks unless you’re coming in to stay. People drink hot chocolate outside all of the time, but I read and learned as a kid that if you drink colder drinks then your body acclimates to the cold temps better. But, it’s always good to have some cocoa if you’re coming in for the day from being outside.
Keep in mind, these aren’t for regular, everyday winter temperatures. But the farmer’s almanac is predicting a cold winter this year, which means it could be a bad one up there.
Thanks, Jason. And so far, it looks like the almanac is right now. Your tips have certainly helped my family and I hope they’ve helped out readers.
Readers, do you have winter tips you would like to share? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear them.