Snow day activities

by Joe Murphy


Snow is merely a wintertime nuisance for people living in colder climates than the Piedmont, but if a snowflake falls west of Boone here, the whole state goes on notice and just a light dusting practically shuts down the state. The public schools will close at even the hint of snow or ice, and work becomes optional for many people. Unfortunately, last Saturday’s flurries had already melted by Monday forcing denizens back to their humdrum existence this week. That said, unexpected holidays are always welcome, especially when the pine trees atop the hills in the distance are covered in snow.




The most fun I had on snow days when I was younger involved a group of kids, the numerous hills in my neighborhood and a fleet of sleds. It’s fun whether you have an old wooden sled named Rosebud, a new, plastic, aerodynamic one or just a cookie sheet. As I got older, the simple thrill of a hill became drab and me and my older and more adventurous friends took to the forest where we carved our own path, which sent us bouncing off of dogwoods and stumps until we finally came to a crashing halt against a rock or log. Just be warned: You might end up with a stubbed toe or turned ankle depending on your reflexes, so think twice before letting the younger siblings tag along.




It snows here so rarely — and when it does there isn’t usually enough accumulation — that skis and snowboards aren’t common. If you are fortunate enough to have either one and you live near a big


enough hill, snowboarding and skiing are more fun than sledding. Furthermore, with the assistance of 4-wheel drive, you can take a trip to the slopes in Western North Carolina and enjoy them when they actually have real snow. I can’t think of anything better to do on a cold, snowy day than carving lines in the powder.



After you’ve conquered every hill in the neighborhood and it’s still light outside, team up with siblings, neighbors or parents and build a snowman — or if you have the time a snow family. Growing up I always used two pieces of coal for eyes, a carrot for a nose, a banana for the mouth and sticks for arms. Depending on how long it takes for the weather to turn, your snowman could stand as a monument to the best winter Tuesday ever for weeks on end. Though they do look pretty pathetic once they start to melt.




This is a good trick to play on your friend’s little brother when you get dismissed from school early due to snow.


If he hasn’t seen A Christmas Story yet it’s his own fault. It’s on all day, every Christmas.



Snowball fights are fun for all ages.


Obviously, the advantage always goes to the person with gloves because they prevent your hands from getting frostbite (though they might throw off the trajectory of your toss). If you’re out for blood, stick a few snowballs in the freezer overnight and ambush your target.

Which leads me to my next reason….



If you have a neighborhood rival or bully that you want to punish, snow gives numerous opportunities. But don’t go soft and settle for carving out your


initials in their driveway with your feet — appropriately placed liquid specimen to spell something out is much more effective. If they still don’t get the message there are always frozen yellow snowballs or, in extreme cases, icicles employed as weaponry.



By the time you’re in high school, you don’t want to go sledding with the little kids anymore. If you, or a friend, has a 4-by-4 truck or SUV you might as well take it for a spin on the deserted roads (and off-roads) in your area. Once the snow glazes over with ice you can spin in circles just by applying the emergency brake while turning (just make sure there aren’t any other cars around). If you think driving in the snow is dangerous, reckless and potentially deadly, you’re probably right. But I ask: Have you ever pulled a 360-degree turn while merging onto Friendly from Aycock in the snow? Try that in the deserted, snow covered, pre-dawn next time it snows and thank me later. And to think, your mother drove you to soccer practice in that Suburban for years and never knew what it was capable of.




Without work or school to preoccupy you, use the snow day as a chance to read the book or watch the movie that you haven’t had the time for yet — or just haven’t enjoyed in a while. Why else do you still have all six Star Wars movies and all seven Harry Potter books?




There’s plenty of ways to do this.


You can warm your bones by an open fire. You can cook a hot chili or soup. You can drink hot chocolate or apple cider… and whiskey always provides a warm hug in your gullet. Snow days, for grown-ups, are nothing else if an excuse to raid your pantry and liquor cabinet.