As I’m looking outside at the fluffy flakes of ice, which somehow get inside of your boots even when you constrict your ankle circulation, I thought about my first experience with winter on campus. As a native of Rochester, you would think I would have an understanding of snowy winters, as City-Data ranked Rochester as having the 12th highest average snowfall per year in the US... However, in high school, I went from a heated house to a heated bus/car to a heated school and vice versa. It never occurred to me the amount of winter walking I would have to do on RIT’s campus. Here’s a compilation of various things I’ve learned that will help you make it through this winter:
1. Layer, Layer, Layer
Seriously. No such thing as “too many” layers. Layering allows you to become your own thermostat by being able to adjust your temperature based on the environment. Typically, I wear two sweatshirts under my double layered winter coat... but I have cold blood, so find out what works for you.
2. Invest in Winter Gear
Having a durable, waterproof winter coat could make a huge difference. Get some good quality, waterproof boots. I got lucky that LL Bean boots became in style recently, as they are quite warm and reliable. Ear muffs or hat, a scarf, and thick gloves will keep you toasty.
3. Learn How to Walk
It sounds silly, but there is a strategy to walking on icy walkways. Walk slowly, bend your knees a little more, take smaller steps, put your center of gravity over your front foot. This technique is called the “Penguin walk” and it has been advertised by RIT on multiple occasions. If I had a dollar for every person I’d seen wipeout from walking improperly, I could buy a mid-sized apartment in New York City.
4. Learn How to Drive
If you’ve never driven in heavy winter conditions before, don’t assume you’ll know what you’re doing right away. The first time, drive a short distance away with a friend in the car who has experience with driving in bad weather. Again, drive slowly, be cautious, and don’t think you can drive your Audi through the winter semester. Invest in a snow brush and shovel and keep your gas tank filled!
5. Learn to Have Winter Fun
It’s easy to lock yourself inside and watch Netflix for four months straight (no judgement), but snow and ice can be fun! Orchestrate a large-scale snowball fight, build a snowman, go sledding or skiing or snowboarding, build an igloo, go cross-country skiing, or go hiking! Use hand warmers, dress warmly, and try different types of hot cocoa. RIT recently did their “Freeze Fest” festival with lots of free giveaways and fun outdoor activities. Take advantage of these things!