Celebrate Winter with These Traditions
There’s more to the season than holidays and snowsports
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Winter. Sure, it’s great for skiing, sledding, building snow people, and the holidays—but what about all the other things we do every year during the cold months? There are lots of fun ways to be fully engaged in the season.
Be “the Guy in Shorts”
You’ve seen him, now be him. Any time the temperature dips below freezing and you’re bundling yourself up for a few minutes in the frigid outdoors, there he is: the guy wearing shorts. If you’re standing near him, you might hear him say something about “being warm-blooded” or “I just don’t get cold.” Well, if you haven’t experienced it, this might be your year. Get a pair of cargo shorts, a warm jacket (or not), and go for a walk around the city while acting as if nothing is amiss.
Fall on Your Ass on an Icy Sidewalk Right in Front of a Crowded Starbucks
Few wintertime traditions are as exhilarating and fulfilling as walking along, minding your own business, and totally eating shit on an icy sidewalk, suddenly and without any warning. Put on a pair of dress shoes, jam your hands in your pockets, walk quickly, and find a crowded business to take a good whipper in front of.
Shovel as Little of Your Sidewalk as Possible
This is always a huge hit in dense urban areas: after a big snowstorm, even if everyone else on your block has immaculately cleaned all the snow from the sidewalk in front of their residence, totally phone it in. Scrape a six-inch-wide path through the snow with a small shovel (or just a garden hoe), or better yet, don’t clear the sidewalk at all, and let everyone posthole through your section of sidewalk.
Walk in Ski Boots
There’s nothing better than a person confidently taking awkward strides across a parking lot or ski lodge in a pair of alpine ski boots. Make sure all the buckles are tightened, and if the boots have a “ski mode” and a “walk mode,” keep them in ski mode, and then go for a nice stroll. Try to take big strides and let your hips follow the wave. You don’t even have to ski to enjoy this one.
Scald Your Mouth on Hot Chocolate
Find somewhere to order a cup of hot chocolate, step outside, and let the cold temperature lull your senses into forgetting you’ve just been served a beverage that mere moments ago was about 211 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour (don’t sip) it into your mouth, and a half-second later, enjoy the shocking, intense pain of the skin of your tongue and roof of your mouth being scalded. Shout expletives, spit out the hot chocolate, catch your breath, let your pulse rate settle down, and revel in the fact that you won’t be able to taste pizza (or anything else!) for about a week.
Misplace a Glove
When it’s cold out, you’ll want to protect your extremities, which would be easy if you could just find your other goddamn glove. You had it when you got home last night, but now where the hell is it? Searching for your lost glove is best when the outside temperature is in single digits, and you are late for something important, like your job. Don’t be afraid to include others in searching for your lost glove, and provide them with helpful information and clues such as “I swear I just had it,” “I usually keep them together,” and “I’m really late, shit shit shit.”
Prepare for Blizzards
When the forecast calls for snowfall of two inches or more in a single 24-hour period, it’s time to stock up as if you will be cut off from civilization for days, if not weeks. Proceed to your local grocery and liquor stores and stock up on two essentials: frozen pizzas and hard liquor. When you notice your bottle of Jim Beam is about half gone, it’s a good time to check if it’s still snowing outside, or if it’s snowing at all—if the blizzard of the century fails to show, or is more mild than expected, you may have to go into work tomorrow. But you can still enjoy that frozen pizza. After all, who can cook at a time like this?
Lots of people love winter because of the increased opportunities to have snot run down their nose and onto their face in public. The additional mucus of wintertime can be a great addition to job interviews, networking events, and even a goodnight kiss at the end of a second date that’s otherwise gone very well.