Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Almost everyone asks me if it snows in Chicago or if it is cold there. After I tell them that it is only about 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer and that I don't find it colder, they point out that it is probably because I have a Kanuk coat. Which is a very good point that I wish I had realized in Chicago. If you dress correctly, dealing with the cold becomes a lot easier. Though being a little more fashion conscious there had something to do with it. This has only been my second winter and last year I managed to spend almost a month of it in warmer climes, so that may why I have not found a difference. Another difference is that in Chicago I took the el to work and spent about an hour a day outside where as now we drive and I spend only short trips outdoors.

On to the snow. I am impressed how people embrace the fact that they live in a colder climate. Winter sports and indoor activities seem to be a large part of life. On the winter sport front, I believe it is harder to do many of them in Chicago because there are not as many days available to do things like sledding and skating. Plus the flatness makes it hard to downhill ski. The nearest slope is 5 hours away without traffic. Going to an local art fair here suggested to me that there are many people who do stuff like painting during the winter months.

One aspect of the snow that I noticed recently is that for the most part it tends to stay white outdoors because there are often fresh coats of snow. In Chicago, there is enough freeze/thaw to keep the snow gray or not existent. The freeze/thaw cycle here really does a beating on the roads.

The snow removal operation in the city is very impressive. To cart away the snow from all the streets using construction graders, dump trucks, and front end mounted snowblowers on trucks was fascinating to see. Plus those midget snow plow tanks that clear the sidewalks are cool. They don't work that great, but it's better than leaving the property owners to clear them.

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