Top 10: Ways to survive the polar vortex

A woman trying to survive the winter blizzard. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

For those that haven’t been outside recently, we are in a polar vortex. Though we will, hopefully, be coming out of the vortex and into warmer weather later this month, it seems unbearable to experience the cold much longer.

Though I’ve spent a fair amount of time being sad due to the lack of sun – as many others do – I’ve decided to look for the top 10 things one can do to fight the cold.

10.  Go ice skating or sledding

It feels as though ice skating and sledding are two obligatory winter activities in which one needs to participate. While these activities do cost money, it is fun to bundle up and do a winter related activity. The outdoor skating rink at Crown Center is an excellent place right here in Kansas City to get into the skating spirit.

Going sledding is another way to capitalize on the snow, which will soon be disappearing – fingers crossed. Here’s a list of the greatest sledding locations in KC – of course, don’t forget our very own Browning Bowl here on campus, which is frequented by sledders every year.  

9. Winter themed beverages

An amazing part of winter is the speciality drinks it brings to us. At no other time in the year do we get to enjoy a plethora of holiday and winter additions to drinks, such as peppermint and eggnog. Maybe it’s just me, but these drinks rarely sound good at any time other than winter. For a definitive guide on winter drinks, review Catherine Dema’s article here.

8. Binge Watch

Another way to fill time created by the snow cancelling things is to binge watch. Binge watching TV series’ and movies has become one of the greatest conveniences of our generation.

When one is snowed, or iced, inside it creates the perfect opportunity to watch a new show or go back to a classic – yes, it’s possible to watch every “Star Wars” movie in one day. It almost seems wrong to not binge watch whenever we have virtually every movie and TV show available with just the click of a button.   

7. Take a nap

With all the blizzards and freezing temperatures, classes and extracurricular activities are inevitably going to be cancelled. This is a great opportunity to take a moment and rest from the busyness of winter. There is no better feeling than thinking you have class and waking up to it being cancelled. Since you already thought you had class or an activity take that time to rest and prepare for spring.

6. Make snow related snacks

There are many delicious treats that are exclusively made on snow and these winter blizzards present a perfect opportunity to try them out. One of my personal favorites, though I am admittedly uncreative and have not tried it myself, is maple taffy. I saw this being in made in Hallmark movie and immediately knew it was a must-do winter activity. To make basic maple taffy you boil maple syrup and pour it on snow in order for it to harden into candy.

Snow ice cream is another personal favorite snow related food. To make snow ice cream you simply fill a bowl with snow and then sprinkle vanilla and condensed milk over the snow. It’s also fun to add food dye to the snow in order to make it multi-colored.

5. Denial

Denying that the cold weather is happening is a great way to deal with it. Have I stopped drinking iced lattes or wearing skirts because of the cold? Absolutely not! Did I fall on the ice in an effort to wear high heels? Of course. The cold will surely not affect you if you simply act as though it doesn’t exist. However, there is only a certain extent to which one can deny the cold. When there are wind chills of -20 degrees it seems near impossible to continue to deny the cold any longer.

The method of denial is also hard to sustain the longer the cold persists. Though this winter has actually not had as low temperatures compared to years past, there is evidence for why it might feel longer. Temperatures consistently failed to reach above freezing and have not risen higher than 64 degrees this winter. Earlier snow storms in October and November might also contribute to the feeling that this winter is going on forever. Thus, denying the weather is a good but potentially unsustainable way to deal with the cold.

4. Be basic

One of the best things about snow, of course, is taking snow related pictures. This is a great opportunity to capitalize on some basic hashtags and pictures that one doesn’t normally get to take. Being basic is also a fairly easy thing to do in this weather. Simply go outside, get a friend to take a picture of you and make sure you add a clever caption. It is also fun to create new layers and winter fashion with all the coats, jackets, scarves, gloves and hats one has to wear in the cold.

Warning: to achieve peak basic levels you will need to have a clever snow related caption such as “snow glad I’m with you” or “snow much fun” and, of course, you must be throwing snow in your picture.

3. Spend the night with a Polar Bear

While this might seem like a strange activity, I can share from personal experience that attending the Kansas City Zoo’s Polar Bear PJ Party was a great way to get into the winter spirit. One can sign up to take an adventurous overnight trip to the zoo where there are crafts, educational activities, a night hike through the zoo and breakfast.

Be sure to bring a pillow and blanket, as you will be sleeping in the Polar Bear Exhibit right next to a polar bear. Sadly, the polar bear was asleep during my overnight stay at the zoo, but it was worth it to see the bear peaceful in its habitat. Register for the zoo’s next Polar Bear activity before the polar vortex ends.

2. Make an ice light

What is an ice light? To make an ice light, one simply fills a bucket of ice with water and leaves it out overnight to freeze – temperatures don’t have to be that cold, just below freezing. The next day, take the frozen ice out of the bucket and there should be an ice block with a small liquid portion at the bottom in the middle of the block. This creates the perfect space to place a candle and make a beautiful icy lantern light.

This Finnish tradition is sure to make everyone feel as though they are braving the arctic cold and having fun while they’re at it. Also, this is a practical way to light the outside of one’s house or backyard.  

1. Complain about the weather

This is truly the only response one can have to this weather. There’s really no point in surviving a polar vortex if you can’t complain about it. Usually, bringing up the weather in a conversation singles awkwardness, but the polar vortex provides a great way for weather to no longer be a topic of awkward small talk.

Complaining about the polar vortex is a great way to bond with people who you want to get to know better and creates a feeling of solidarity among people. In a time of extreme polarization we need something to agree on – anger over the polarization of the cold weather is a great place to start.

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