IT'S OUR TURN: Let’s peel the egg of winter outdoor activity

I shouldn't get out of breath knocking ice off my windshield. If I keep spending my winters mostly in the warm indoors, it'll just get worse.

Robin Fish

Have you ever peeled a 2,000-pound hard-boiled egg? I kind of did on Wednesday, April 5, when I chipped an 1/8-inch thick sheet of ice off my car before cruising the town for photos.

At the time, ice and and snow had been falling for over 24 hours, with more still coming down. After the shell came off, I hopped in my egg, um, car and drove nine miles in it, all within city limits, looking for outdoor human activity to photograph.

The results were a little disappointing, but not surprising. Besides people shoveling, plowing or blowing snow, and one or two walking in the street, I didn’t see much going on.

It’s been a long winter, to be sure. One sidewalk shoveler told me, “I’m over this.” And I’d felt the bite of the wind chill myself, so I understood why no one would choose to be outside.

At the same time, I felt wistful for my childhood, when a snow day would see kids my age building snow forts, hurling snowballs, or sliding downhill on plastic sleds and inner tubes.


To be honest, I wasn’t as much into all that activity as I should have been. Friends had to drag me out of the indoor warmth. But when they did, I enjoyed myself. I even had a fourth-grade friend who would give me rides on his snowmobile sometimes.

But then, one day, I woke up middle aged, overweight and spoiled by decades spent in warmer states. Suddenly, wind chills and snowy sidewalks were all the excuse I needed to stay indoors from November to April.

My outing last week was a belated reminder, after months spent indoors growing daily more middle-aged and overweight, that even with a stiff cold wind, it’s actually lovely to get out in fresh air and sunshine.

I have good snow boots. I have a warm coat. I have an adequate hat and gloves. I wished I was wearing a scarf, but I’ll remember that next time. What I really need, I realized, is an excuse to get outside on a winter day.

A winter stroll can bring interesting sights to your eyes. I walked into Red Bridge Park and had my breath taken away by the pristine expanse of snow, unmarked except by a snowmobile track and my own footprints.

Let this column be a reminder to myself and anyone else who has been softening and spreading into the couch all winter. Let’s get together next winter, and make it a regular thing. Let’s shake off our inactivity and indoor blues and do something fun and creative to get our hearts pumping, our muscles working, and our lungs full of crisp, cold air.

What could we do? There are loads of unoriginal ideas like sledding, snowball fights, snowman-making, or just sticking one boot in the snow after the other.

But how about coming up with new and odd activities, to which no one can say “no” when asked to join the party?


Things like, say, volleyball in the snow (where diving for a save brings its own unique reward). A snowball target-throwing contest. Snow sculpture Pictionary. Sidewalk shoveling races. Whipping you-know-whatties on a frozen lake with the car windows down. Floor hockey in the street. Hiding painted rocks in the snow at Heartland Park. And afterward, warming up somewhere with hot cider or cocoa.

I was going to add “frozen Slip N Slide” to the list, but I hurt myself the last time I went Slip N Sliding, and that was during the summer. I was in my late 40s then and didn’t know better.

So, yeah, there are limits with being middle-aged and overweight. Note to self: know them, and push them a little.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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