Winter Posts

Surf and Slide – Great Lakes Now

Detroit Public TV produces Great Lakes Now. The show speaks to me of what we share with other Great Lakes residents and how we should quit fighting about whether or not Lake Superior is the Greatest Lake. This episode focuses on ice sailing, and lake surfing (specifically the Surfistas): “It’s about stoke.”

Selective Focus: Presidents’ Day Blizzard of 2022

Somewhere in the range of 17 inches of snow fell on Duluth from Feb. 22 to 23, blowing into tall, fluffy snow dunes. Collected here are a few images from around the region, via Instagram.

Selective Focus: Winter Recreation and Icy Silliness

Sledding, paddling, lollygagging … drifting off on an ice chunk. Collected here are a few images from Instagram of simple winter pleasures.

Red pennants make sliding safe for kids at street intersections

An update to the post “Sledding Duluth’s Avenues in 1921“:

By 1922 it was determined that the safe thing to do is hang red pennants to warn drivers about popular sledding intersections.

Selective Focus: Snow Day 2021

A few select images from today’s blizzardry via Instagram.

Filling Up at the ‘Coldest Gas Station in America’

Back in January of 1997, my friend Keith and I took a drive across Wiscosota and Minnesconsin with my cousin Matt, a California beach boy searching for a real northland winter. Our road trip launched on the eve of the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XXXIII appearance. A handmade Packer flag crafted from a pillow case was taped to the bumper of Keith’s sedan as we drove 300 miles across frozen farm fields and snow-covered forest to Title Town. The idea was to celebrate an inevitable Packer victory in the shadows of Lambeau Field.

I’ll save our tales of mischief and revelry for another time. This essay is about gas stations – very cold gas stations.

Gas is needed to get from St. Paul to Green Bay in a V-8 Chevrolet. Somewhere in the middle of Wiscosota we stopped at a convenience store and pulled up to a service island. A snowmobile was parked at an adjacent pump and its driver was filling a tank under the seat. Matt’s jaw dropped like he had just spotted Bigfoot munching on a cheeseburger.

“Whaaaaatttt????” he said, as he grabbed a cheap point-and-shoot camera and jumped out of the car.

Sledding Duluth’s Avenues in 1921

One hundred years ago there were far fewer cars on Duluth’s streets, but it was still considered dangerous to sled down the city’s steep avenues. So Duluth Police Chief Warren E. Pugh surveyed the city and selected a few recommended avenues that posed “the least danger to life and limb,” according to the Duluth Herald of Nov. 22, 1921.

Polar Vortex

Early morning winter cold floods in through the gaps between the sheet and mattress. The cold is so powerful, so penetrating, I imagine it to be as fluid as a rushing river with the ability to seep into minute cracks and crevices. In the chaos of adjusting the comforter and pulling the pillow into my impromptu cocoon, my sleep-hat has gone AWOL. An instinctual desire to escape the cold and fortify the barrier makes me abandon any pursuit of the lost headpiece.

A new form of low temperature has erupted in Minnesota, a reverse volcano maybe. Not a temperature so high it melts rock, but one so powerfully low it could probably fracture silk. This kind of cold, the kind that cracks house rafters, and spiderwebs the smallest chip in a windshield, has blown in from the north. Weather enthusiasts call it a Polar Vortex — something about the North Pole, and cold, and pressure. But at five o’clock in the morning in northern Minnesota, those technical, and normally interesting, scientific truths can crawl into a snowbank as far as I am concerned. Whether it’s a vortex, or cyclone, or Voldemort’s Dementors unleashed, the only truth that encapsulates this moment is something I learned years ago: “cold is the absence of heat.”

Winter Sports in Duluth, 1929

This brochure from 1929 highlights “Winter Sports in Duluth,” including the old toboggan chute at Chester Park, as seen on the cover.

Adventures of the Little Pats: 20 Below

Selective Focus: Hoar Frost / Rime Ice

The ice crystals have us surrounded. Surrender to the frost.

Collected here are select Instagram photos celebrating the wonder of water vapor condensation freezing to cold surfaces (hoar frost) and/or cooled water in the fog turning to ice (rime ice). Probably more the latter than the former.

Duluth You & Me: Winter Fun

Use the link below for a printable PDF for your coloring and drawing pleasure.
Duluth You & Me: Winter Fun

Follow the Duluth You & Me subject tag to see additional pages. For background on the book see the original post on the topic.

Selective Focus: November Snow Scenes

Select images of pre-winter via Instagram.

Images from Duluth’s Citywide Snowball Fight

Montage of photos by J.P. Rennquist from Duluth’s Citywide Snowball Fight at Leif Erikson Park.

Selective Focus: Another Snow Bomb

Select Instagram photos from the latest powder drop.

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