7 tips on surviving the cold from people living in cold places

February 3

Over the past few weeks, the country has fought unusually cold weather: from the polar vortex to the Atlanta snowstorm that shut down the city, with residents spending nights in grocery stores and hours stuck in traffic.

With the Groundhog predicting six more weeks of winter, we turned to people who are living in or are from the coldest corners of the country and the world for advice beyond the obvious on how to survive the snow and frigid winter weather. Here are their tips — useful, surprising and quirky.

Daryl Ritchison, WDAY-TV, WDAZ-TV, WDAY-AM Meteorologist from Fargo, N.D. :

1. Go outside more frequently, being outside more gets you acclimated to the conditions faster.


AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter

2. Find time to exercise, even walking in a mall helps, besides the health reasons, it tends to help fight the winter blues if you stay active.


Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post

Jackie Purcell/Chief Meteorologist KTUU-Channel 2 Anchorage from  Ancorhage, Alaska:

3. Plastic bags (bread bags) used like socks before you put on boots or shoes can add an extra layer of dryness, if not a little warmth in a pinch.


Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post

4. Literally, stuffing newspaper in your clothing if you are stuck in a car jam on a freeway…could make a critical difference in staying warm enough.


KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Jeffrey Donenfeld, Adventure Travel Consultant and Expedition Photographer who has worked with the United States Antarctic Program at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica:

5. Stay warm, but not too warm. 


Photo: Land Rover via AP Images

On very cold days it can be tempting to wear everything you’ve got, even while you’re working outside. But if you’re doing work, get too warm and start sweating, and then stop working, that sweat can cool you back down rapidly, creating a dangerous situation.

6. If you’re going to be working on snow in full sunlight for a while, be sure to apply sunblock to skin facing the ground — I’ve seen numerous people sunburn the bottom of their chin, nose, and roof of their mouth from sunlight reflected off the snow.


Julia Ewan /The Washington Post

Anup Kaphle, Digital Foreign Editor at The Washington Post, who is from Nepal:

7. Drink Yak Butter Tea.


AP Photo/Kevin Frayer

Yak Butter Tea, a popular tea among Tibetans, consists of three main ingredients — tea leaves, water, yak butter and salt. Once you bring the tea to boil, you filter the liquid and pour it on to a cylindrical vessel that contains yak butter and salt. Then you continue to stir the tea with a wooden ladle until the tea reaches the consistency of a stew, which is then poured into clay cups/pots and served. Because yak butter is not readily available everywhere, I have seen friends make this kind of tea with regular cow butter, tea bags and salt — everything that can be easily purchased in the market.

Do you have any suggestions on how to survive the cold? Share your ideas using the form below.

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