• Wis Outdoor Explorer

My Relationship with Winter

My love of winter is slowly growing again.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with winter. When you’re a kid, what’s not to love about winter? You can build snow fort, go sledding on the biggest hills you can find and there’s always a chance for a day off of school that’s filled with more sledding and fort building. But as I get older, there are things that can make winter a lot less fun than what it used to be. With the somewhat frustrating winter, or nonwinter we seem to be having, I wanted to share three things that I love and hate about winter.

Let’s start with the negative stuff first.

1. The Cold

I don’t handle the cold like I use did when I was a teenager. In my teenage years I could stand outside with nothing more than a heavy fall jacket on and be pretty comfortable. I could get by with a pair of decent gloves, but my hands really never got too cold. However, today is a different story. I like being warm and it takes a few more things to do that. If I have a choice, I’ll opt for a good pair of mittens and even shove a couple of hand warmers in each one. I make sure I find a good winter coat that allows me to put multiple layers on underneath. And speaking of layers, I usually opt for at least 3 layers before I put on my outer layers. I’m not able to handle the cold like I used to, but I’ve learned to adapt so that I can still get out and enjoy the outdoors.

2. Driving

I think this is one most of us can agree on. I hate driving on winter roads. It’s not so much that I can’t do it. It’s more of a matter of worrying about others around me. I make sure I have my vehicles ready for winter before we get any snow, but taking those slow drives on winter roads isn’t on my list of favorite things to do. I guess that’s one the perks of living in Wisconsin.

3. The Transition from Winter to Spring

I would say this is my least favorite part of winter, or for that matter, the year. The transition from winter to spring is always a messy one. When you wake up in the morning to freezing temps and as the day warms up the ground transitions into a wet mess. If you live out in the rural areas like I do, there’s nowhere to get away from it. The roads are soft as the frost begins to leave, the yard is saturated and for some reason the dog, makes sure to check out every new puddle that forms from the thawing snow. It’s the mess before the beauty of spring. It’s a necessary evil of the seasonal transition, but it’s not my favorite thing about winter.

Finding things to do during winter makes it go by so much faster.

Now the fun things

1. The First Snow

There is just something about that first snow that makes me excited about the winter season. Sometimes it comes a little early, mid-October and then goes away. Then if we are lucky it will return around mid-December telling us all that winter has arrived and is here to stay for a least a few months.

2. Different Things to Do

Winter opens the door to things you can’t do in the warmer months. From riding snowmobiles and fishing threw a hole in the ice to sledding down a hill with nothing but a piece of plastic underneath you. The activities that are available in the winter are what makes Wisconsin such a fun place to live during the winter season. Where else can you see ice castles, a 30-foot snowman and watch people jump into a freezing lake for charity? Just thinking about all the great things to do in the winter, just brings a smile to my face.

3. The Clear Evening Skies

I’ve always enjoyed star gazing. During the winter, the night sky seems so much crisper and clearer than during the summer months. Yeah, it’s easier to stay outside and star gaze in June, July and August, but bundling up and checking out the stars in winter is definitely worth it. I’ve dabbled in astrophotography a few times and have always had better results when the weather is colder. So, the next time the skies are clear and the weather is crisp, step outside and look at the stars.

I’m learning to love winter again. I didn’t always look forward to it, but as I get older, I realized that life is really about what you make of it and winter is no different. I’ve learned to adapt to the cold so that I can do the things that I want to do outdoors. I’m finding new things to try and look forward to having enough snow to try them. I suggest that you find things you enjoy doing during the winter and you’ll discover winter will pass by just as fast as summer does. You’ll then find yourself looking forward to those first snowflakes of the next winter.

Here’s your chance to tell me what you love or hate about winter. Leave a comment or email at and I’ll share your thoughts with the rest of the Wisconsin Outdoor Explorers.

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