How to survive a Minnesota winter: some advice to newcomers from veterans

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This upcoming winter isn’t staying shy, in fact, mother nature is already giving us a taste of the cold front coming ahead. Only a couple weeks ago, did Minnesota hit a high of 68 degrees and now in the beginning of November, we are plummeting into a new average high of 34 degrees. With winter coming quicker than ever, it’s that time of the year again where the swimsuits are tucked away, and the snow boots come out.

As St. Cloud State is the home to many from Minnesota, who are used to this type of weather, the school also has students coming from across the country and across the world. With that being said, there are students who have never lived through a Minnesota winter or have even seen snow for that matter. The University Chronicle had the opportunity to sit down with three Huskies who have grown up in warmer climates, Shota Khon (Freshman) and Spencer Rojas (Freshman), to get their insight and thoughts about how they feel about the cold weather that is ahead of them.

Question 1: Where are you from?

Shota: I am from Charleston, South Carolina.

Spencer: I am from Dallas, Texas.

Question 2: How long have you lived there?

Shota: I lived there for about 8 to 9 years.

Spencer: I lived there for 18 years.

Question 3: When did you move to Minnesota?

Shota: I just moved here 2-3 months ago for college and actually my whole family moved up here around 4 years ago.

Spencer: August 17, 2017.

Question 4: Have you ever seen snow before?

Shota: Yes. It was when I was really little, so I have a vague memory, but I just saw it this whole f—— weekend and it was straight awful. It was awful. I slid on the frickin’-I slid on the bridge because I didn’t know the physics about it. So I was slippin’ like in my car and it scared the s–t out of me. Overall, the snow is pretty cool, but apparently, I’m not supposed to say that in front of Minnesotans.

Spencer: It snows in Texas, but not as much as it does here. I remember I woke up one morning and it was 68 degrees, then after school, I stepped outside and there was a whole bunch of snow and it was 28 degrees and I was ready to die.

Question 5: What are you most scared of about this upcoming winter?

Shota: Probably frostbite. I’ve never witnessed frostbite, I’ve never gotten frostbite, or like have ever seen pictures of frostbite. I just know it’s a thing and a very possible thing here.

Spencer: I’m most scared about not even the cold, but the wind and snow. I’m also scared about driving up here when I have a car. People in Texas can’t drive in the rain let alone the snow. So yeah, I’m also scared about driving because I’ve never experienced that before.


For anyone who has never been through a crazy winter or has never dealt with snow just like these two, going through your first winter is tough and can even be dreadful at first. It’s very important for people to educate themselves on how to prepare, in order to stay safe and still enjoy your time on campus.

To get this kind of important information, who better to ask about winter survival advice none other than the ones who have been through them more than one can count? These next three interviewees claim to be the experts when it comes to surviving Minnesota winters. James Hilton (Freshman), Olivia Simonson (Freshman) are ones who have been through these conditions all their lives and give the more critical point of views on harsh winters. The third, Donna Vang (Senior), is someone who has not been here quite as long but shares her perspective of moving to this state and adjusting to the weather.


Question 1Where are you from? 

James: Eden Prarie, Minnesota.

Olivia: Winger, Minnesota.

Donna: I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but I grew up in Gentry Arkansas.

Question 2: How long have you lived in Minnesota?

James: My whole life. Eighteen years and three months to be exact.

Olivia: My whole life.

Donna: I lived here since I moved back, so for five years.

Question 3: What is your worst winter memory?

James: There was one time that I was in a car in the middle of winter, it was a long car ride, and it’s not like we ran out of gas or anything we were just sitting and taking a break from driving. However, we didn’t have the heat on so I sat in the car for about thirty minutes wearing shorts, which is kind of regrettable.

Olivia: I think it was the night of the Super Bowl, there was a really bad blizzard and I went to my friend’s house. The next morning we ended up having to go to school and we actually were a few hours late. My friend lived in the country, and we were legitly stranded in her house because the plows don’t come until later, so her Dad had to shovel out the driveway just so we could drive our cars to school. It took me about 40-50 minutes to get there when it usually only takes me ten. I also almost went into the ditch driving there.

Donna: When my car didn’t have enough battery so it kept dying. I had to call my parents to come and give my car a cable jump. It was the worst sitting in the car wishing you weren’t alive. Like, I lost all the feeling in my hands until my parents got there because I was so cold.

Question 4:  Do you think you could have prepared more to avoid that moment? How?

James: I had a suitcase, but it was in the trunk. I really didn’t want to get out of the car and go get it. I could’ve just worn long pants instead of wearing shorts.

Olivia: I should’ve listened to my mom and have not gone over to my friend’s house in the first place because it was really bad when I drove over there. Then, if I wouldn’t have gone over there I would’ve made it to school on time because I wouldn’t have been in the middle of the country. I could’ve also looked at the weather forecast to see exactly how bad it was going to get to also prevent me from going in the first place.

Donna: Yes. Just like packing extra gloves, blankets, and clothes in the back of my car. That’s just how most people did it, but I was an idiot.

Question 5: What main advice would you give to those who are new to Minnesotan weather?

James: Figure out your comfort level with the temperature, and once you figure that out, always wear an extra layer past that.

Olivia: If you’re driving always have a blanket in the backseat of your car.

Donna: With me transitioning from Arkansas to here, a big thing was wearing an efficient pair of boots. Also, for example, I also see a lot of international students that come here in the middle of winter, and when I go to help them out of the plane and they would be wearing flip-flops. They had like no jacket either, so they were in t-shirts and shorts and I was like, “Oh no you’re gonna freeze!”

Question 6: What are 3 essentials one needs to survive in the winter?

James: A hot drink, so either hot chocolate or coffee, the comfortable and warm sweatshirt and sweatpants pairing, and a nice pair of mittens for a walk outside.

Olivia: Invest in a good jacket, gloves, and some new winter boots.

Donna: A good jacket, boots, and a hat.

Question 7: Do you have a secret trick or hack that helps you?

James: Walk as fast as you possibly can. Take the shortest path possible to wherever you’re going because then you’ll be outside less.

Olivia: Avoid being outside as much as possible. Also, learn how to walk on ice. Overall, it will just help you get to places faster and prevent you from falling on your face.

Donna: I usually double layer. So with a jacket on, I will wear like one or two hoodies underneath depending on how cold it is, doubling up on socks, and finding the warmest and quickest routes to take when going to class.

Safety in the winter time for newcomers is a crucial test in whether one can survive being a Minnesotan or not. In order to keep yourself safe, in summation of what the natives had said, invest in a good jacket, be careful driving, and avoid standing outside for long periods of time.

However, for anyone who is reading this and is new to the cold climate, bundle up and stay safe this winter.