Let’s face it: Winter is coming. The leaves are beginning to fall, temperatures are beginning to drop, and seasonal allergies are beginning to appear. Whether we like it or not, our backyards will be glazed with flakes as soon as days. Many people will consider this the beginning of six dark months scraping crusted windshields and waddling across icy sidewalks. While this may be true, there are a lot more benefits to the season then some people realize.
With the cold temperatures come opportunities to participate in different sports and events. For me, I thoroughly enjoy getting out my snowboard and shredding the mountain. There is no better feeling then hitting some fresh powder with your friends on an open hill. While some people find this sport extreme, there is a perfect, versatile compliment for those looking for a similar experience. With nearly 15 million participants in the U.S. (Statista.com), skiing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in a more composed manner. While both sports can seem costly to start, there are plenty of deals at local mountains for groups to learn together on beginner-friendly equipment. If you live far away from a mountain, there are many other activities like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and the ever-classic sledding can be enjoyed in more local locations. A local favorite amongst students on Ferris State’s campus is ice skating. On selective Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons, Ewigleben Ice Arena is open to the public to skate for less than $10.
I understand that not everyone loves the outdoors as much as I do. After all, it is usually below 30 degrees with a nasty wind chill. That doesn’t mean the season has to be wasted. At-home entertainment can be a great alternative to combat Mother Nature. According to a four-year study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people spend an average of almost three hours per day watching TV during the fall and winter months. Staying inside from the cold gives you a chance to binge watch your favorite shows. With our experience from quarantine, many people found how visual entertainment can provide an outlet from a hard week’s work. This idea has been hugely supported by large streaming stations like Netflix and Hulu, who find ways to add great shows and movies every month. All in all, who wouldn’t want to stay in their pajamas, watch their favorite movie or show, and enjoy the comfort of house heating? Sure sounds relaxing to me.
Hellen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” For experienced Michiganders, we have all been through this together. Only a few years ago, we faced the toughest winter in recent memory with the 2019 polar vortex. That storm gave us one of the biggest mental and physical challenges in state history. While it took a toll on our population, the biggest takeaway is we made it through together. Helping a fellow neighbor can be a great part of the season. Whether it’s shoveling a driveway, giving a home-cooked meal, or donating warm clothing, there are many ways to help those in need during the holiday season. Two of my personal favorite things are being able to interact with others and help those in need. What better time of year to do both than the snowy season.
As we approach the end of fall, many people will begin to automatically seep into a gloomy state. This can seem natural but it doesn’t have to be practiced. We can come together and change this cultural stereotype. Winter doesn’t have to be miserable. With the help of others and various endeavors, the winter season can be much more enjoyable.