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13 things that only Minnesotans understand about winter

By Claire Shefchik

Listen up, you East Coasters with your Polar Vortexes and #snowmageddons, you have a thing or two to learn about winter. When it comes to frigid winters, Minnesota takes the cake. When temperatures drop below 20 degrees, New Yorkers freak out like it's the end of the world. Minnesotans, on the other hand, consider it balmy. 

Here are 13 things that only Minnesotans understand about winter.

1. When snow covers the ground and cars are skidding all over the road, we don't have to come up with some snazzy name for it like "Blizzard 2016," "Snowpocalypse" or "Snowmaggedon." We call it winter. We trudge through it wearing Stormy Cromer caps and Darn Tuff socks. Winter is not a news event, a phenomenon, or a thing. It is life for five—yes, five—months out of the year.

2. Imagine the longest winter you ever experienced as a child, then add three months. That’s winter in Minnesota.

3. Not sure you have any interest in watching people crazy people on skates hurtle down 12-story vertical drops at 80 mph? Neither were we until 2010. Nobody actually knows what Crashed Ice is—all we know is that it's been in St Paul since 2010, and if it ever goes away we'll miss it.

4. Temperature just hit 40 degrees? Everywhere else, people are huddled in Gore-Tex jackets with their hands shoved into their pockets. In Minnesota, we’re out in jogging shorts and T-shirts with earbuds stuffed in our ears.

5. Drive to go cross country skiing? Never. There’s a perfectly good ski trail right where you are. It’s called your backyard (and your neighbors’ and their neighbors’.) Carry a rifle and boom: you'll also be a biathlete!

6. Minnesota has its own mythology surrounding winter to rival the Greeks. And although the Vulcans can no longer grab women off the St. Paul streets, plant a smooch on them and smear tar all over their faces (yes, that really happened in the the good old days) for fear of assault charges, we’re still reigned over by the ruddy-cheeked small-business owner playing the Vulcans’ arch-nemesis King Boreas, and the X-ray technician playing his wife, the Queen of the Snows.

7. An ice house is a house made of ice. A fish house is a house on the ice, designed for fishing.

8. If you really want your kids to be hardcore, make sure they say “sliding,” not “sledding.”

9. The most common phrase heard in Minnesota during the winter: “Turn on the porch light and see if it’s snowing again.” The second most common: “The St. Paul Winter Carnival medallion hunters are digging up private property.”

10. Your mother has probably been run over by snowblower at least once. She think it’s no big deal.

11. Hockey is a religion, but pond hockey is God.

12. During your first 10 years in Minnesota, you get by with a shovel. During the next ten years, you borrow your neighbor’s snowblower. And during your third decade, you buy your own snowblower. After that, you hire someone to take care of the snow for you. And 10 years after that, you move to Arizona (but still come back for curling club).

13. Why turn up the furnace when you can build a fire? The kind with logs. That you haul in yourself. After sawing up the tree they came from. That you cut down. I mean, it’s so much easier, right?

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