From Los Angeles breeze to Minneapolis freeze
December 7, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I am moving to Minneapolis from Los Angeles and the only thing I'm a bit worried about is the weather. Got some tips?

I'm going to be moving in with a friend in Minneapolis before New Year's eve. We are doing a freelance project for a client (animation/vfx/graphics) so I may only be in Minneapolis until February or March (when the gig runs its course). I've Wikipedia'd the place and it sounds great and different but I've never been in any weather that's below 40 degrees, so I'm honestly a bit scared by the prospect of -20 degrees (or worse).

I need some tips, like a list of "10 things I wish I'd known when moving to a really, really cold place".

I need to know about specific brands of gloves or clothing I could buy to fend off the cold. Can you give me links or names of some of your favorite winter must-haves?

Also, I'm not sure what the sudden change of temperature will do to my body so I was wondering what some good practices are when living over there as far as commuting etc. (I won't have a car).

What hours are the best to move around? What are some Rookie Mistakes you maybe learned from and want to share?

Your help is greatly appreciated, as always, Metafilter! :)

[P.S. I am 23 years old and weigh 180 pounds, if that info is relevant to the question.]
posted by fantodstic to Travel & Transportation (45 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Be aware of snow emergencies
posted by mpls2 at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not a specific brand, but when I was going to Minneapolis in the winter, my aunt (who grew up there) told me to make sure I had a coat that completely covered my butt, and she was right.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:02 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The answers I got from my version of this question were very helpful.
posted by zamboni at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2010


1. You'll be fine.
2. Long underwear is a good thing.
3. A scarf is a good thing.
4. A hat that covers your ears is a good thing.
5. Those things that just cover your ears suck.
6. Waterproof shoes tall enough to keep slush and snow from getting in are a good thing.

I live in L.A. and when I go back in the winter to Michigan, where I grew up, I get by just fine with a fleece jacket, gloves, a scarf, and good boots.
posted by The World Famous at 1:08 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The biggest thing I learned when I moved here (from New England, so I was pretty use to cold) was that being warm is totally worth looking like an idiot for. You will probably want to buy:

Long underwear: seriously, do not skip this! REI has good long underwear for fairly cheap. Get the heavier weight. They will be your savior.

Balaclava: I wear a Polar Fleece Buff but any balaclava will do. There will be days when even a small amount of exposed skin is too much. Failing that, a good hat is a must. And a scarf.

Boots: I have these Sorels which are pretty inexpensive and hella warm. Good boots that are awesome. Since you may not be staying in Minneapolis, you could probably skip the investment if you have a pair of non-winter boots that will keep your feet dry(ish) in the snow and really don't want to spare the cash.

In either case, wool socks rock and and definitely worth paying >$10 for.

REI probably has some good mittens/gloves (ditto for jackets/coats), but I can't recommend brands in particular. Mittens keep your hands much warmer, but are harder to do stuff in.

There are chemical hand a foot warmers that you may want to investigate if you feel like you just can't keep your hands and feet warm. I like the more ecologically friendly version of cloth bags with rice that I heat in the microwave.

All this sounds like it sucks, and sometimes it does when it takes ten minutes to get out of the house, but believe me, winter is MUCH better when properly prepared. Hell, it can even be kind of fun. You're coming during the absolute worst part of winter (in my opinion anyway) so it will probably be a shock. Minneapolis is a great city and hopefully you can discover all the wonderful things it has that makes enduring the winter more than worth it!
posted by radioaction at 1:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I moved from Virginia to Boston, and the most important thing I would suggest is finding a way to keep your feet warm and dry. I had very improper clothing for the cold weather and it made me very, very miserable. It took me a long time to find the things that worked the best for me. L.L. Bean and Land's End were my favorite places to shop!
Best of luck!
posted by littleflowers at 1:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're not used to hardcore winter, you might be thrown by the shorter days, the lack of color (constant snow on ground, bare trees, gray skies), and the inconvenience of having to put on multiple layers when you leave and take them back off when you come back. Keep track of your mood, and consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.

Nthing good weatherproof boots, and get in the habit of taking them off as soon as you get inside, because you really don't want to track sludge and salt all over your floors.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I grew up in North Dakota. The most important thing I learned was that when it's -40, nobody cares what you look like. Seriously, pile on the layers and pick things for warmth rather than style. When I go home, I wear an incredibly ugly coat and whatever mismatched assortment of accessories will provide maximum function.

My junior-high attempts to flout this maxim resulted mostly in looking good while being cold and miserable.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


P.S. By "looking good" I mean "as good as I could have looked as an awkward 13 year-old nerd".

I hope you love Minneapolis! It's truly one of my favorite American cities.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:23 PM on December 7, 2010


Is your friend's building connected to the Minneapolis skyway? If so, you may be able to get to many places in the downtown area without ever really facing the elements.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 1:24 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think radioaction is overreacting, but then again, I grew up here.

How much time are you actually going to be spending outside? Will you be waiting for the bus out in the cold (you say you won't have a car) or will your friend be driving you? Will you be doing stuff outside or mostly just going from vehicle to an indoor location?

I live North of the Twin Cities and personally do not own any long underwear or chemical hand/foot warmers or wool socks. Waterproof/resistant boots (they don't even have to be ugly Sorels) are very helpful in the slushy months.

Basically, mittens, hat and scarf are good. Long pants and sweaters are good. Nice wool coat or other winter jacket is good. So, what The World Famous said.

How used to dry weather are you? This is the thing that bothers me the most in the winter here - very dry air. Coughing and stuffy noses and increased chance of getting a cold or flu seem to be the symptoms for me. So, if possible, bring or buy a warm mist humidifier.
posted by jillithd at 1:28 PM on December 7, 2010


"Is your friend's building connected to the Minneapolis skyway? If so, you may be able to get to many places in the downtown area without ever really facing the elements."

His apartment is a block away from it, so I guess not "connected". Can you elaborate on this por favor? :)
posted by fantodstic at 1:28 PM on December 7, 2010


- Long underwear. The legs are the hardest part to keep warm.
- Don't be afraid to look stupid in the name of staying warm. I've even seen people just wrapped up in blankets on top of coats on the super cold days!
- Once you get really, really thoroughly chilled outside, there's no way to get warm again other than getting inside and taking a hot shower or cowering under the covers.
- Be careful walking -- there will be a lot of slippery ice. However, the ice patches won't move all winter, so you can get to know the sidewalk geography on your daily walks and learn where the dangerous patches are.
- The days are short, but the skies are more often than not brilliant blue.
- Most importantly, go have fun outside! Don't be afraid of the cold and you'll have a good time.
posted by yarly at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2010


I will be mostly indoors. I will be commuting from the apartment to my friend's office most days, I think by bus, he said. So that rules out the skyway. I've looked it up; it looks really cool! No skyway for me, I guess.
posted by fantodstic at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2010


You want something that has an outer windbreaker shell and an inner fleece / thermal lining. Fleece by itself won't help you when it gets windy. Colombia, North Face, etc. is your friend here. Check winter sales online now - they're dumping inventory to start clearing shelves for spring fashion. Also, coats have zippers. Use them. An unzipped coat is kind of stupid when it's this cold out.

Mittens are warmer than gloves if you can stand the loss of dexterity. If you go with gloves, don't get thin driving gloves, you want something with some insulation - think ski gloves. Check the temperature rating on them. If they aren't good to at least 10 below, get a different pair. Unless you plan to throw a lot of snowballs they needn't be waterproof, just warm.

Hats are a must. It should cover your ears. It should also cover the top of your head. Your hair will get smushed. Carry a comb if it is a problem, but it's better than freezing.

Get a scarf if you think it will help. Or a balaclava. Something you can use to keep your neck and face warmer if the wind cuts in too much for you to be comfortable. Wool is your friend if it will be near your face - warm even when it gets wet.

If your coat is long enough (past the waist) your core will be warm. Your legs can handle the cold a little better. If they're too cold, a thin thermal layer (like silk long underwear) can help without being too bulky.

Boots are a good thing. I usually wear a pair of Merrell slip-ons and switch to shoes when I get to work; however a few days I do grab a heavier pair of boots after a good snow, when the sidewalks are messy. On the plus side, we don't get lots of snow, and it usually stays too cold for it to melt, so you only have the deep snow for a day or so before the sidewalks are cleared. Unless you plan to walk in deep snow often, you can get by with a hiking boot-style winter boot rather than the taller variety.

Get some warm socks though. They'll help. And if you have any sweaters, bring them; the temperature indoors in some places is often a little chillier than you may prefer.

The light rail runs nearly round the clock. It's good for commuting downtown, and it runs right to the Mall of America. The mall is of course a giant human circus but the movie theater is usually not too crowded and it's nice to be somewhere you don't need a coat for a few hours when the weather is rotten. Downtown, the skyway connects nearly all the buildings, so again once you get there you needn't be outside that often.

Getting the gear for such a short stay is kind of a pain, but look on the plus side - you'll be set for skiing if you ever decide to go in the future.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:33 PM on December 7, 2010


I went to university in montreal. For the first couple years I toughed it out and used light winter jackets with some layers. I didn't realize how miserable this was until I got a good quality down jacket with a substantial hood. It kept me warm, toasty and protected from the elements in the worst of storms and the coldest nights. North Face makes excellent ones that, while expensive, are worth the money in my opinion.

Also, use plenty of moisturizer. You skin will dry out like crazy when it's cold and windy.
posted by smokingmonkey at 1:34 PM on December 7, 2010


Mittens.

Smartwool socks.

Hat.
posted by leahwrenn at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2010


He'd mentioned the skyway but I don't think his office building is connected to it. I still wanna check it out :)

Another question:

So, should I grow my hair a bit longer? Does longer hair help? I'm guessing it does but y'all know better.

Thanks for the helpful answers everyone!
posted by fantodstic at 1:38 PM on December 7, 2010


If you're commuting by bus, it will probably be worth your while to get a go-to card. No fumbling with cash in the cold is a nice thing!
posted by radioaction at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, I just thought of this:

Are there any diet tips for this weather? Like foods or vitamins etc that I should give my body to help it cope better? Chocolates? Bread?

Keep 'em coming :)
posted by fantodstic at 1:42 PM on December 7, 2010


I'm a native Minnesotan originally from Minneapolis. I'm a HUGE baby about cold weather, and am almost always cold. Here's my advice for handling a Minnesota winter:

- Daylight hours are limited, and many people (including myself) experience seasonal affective disorder. Sunrise is at 7:50 am and sunset is at 4:30pm, so you may end up arriving to and leaving work in the dark every day, too.

- Get used to layering and removing layers, depending on where you are. When it's extremely cold out and I know I'll be spending an extended amount of time outside, I like to wear a long parka, warm snow boots, long underwear or leggings underneath my pants, wool socks (for warmth and moisture wicking capabilities), gloves or mittens, and a hat. That's a lot of stuff to lug around if you're just walking from the parking lot to the mall, so many Minnesotans go for convenience over comfort and make due with a shell-and-liner style jacket and a beanie. It all depends on how much time you'll be spending outside and what you're tolerance level for cold is.

- If you won't have a car, you don't have to worry about winter driving. Consider taking the bus instead. The Metro Transit website is very helpful for figuring out routes--but just remember that the bus stops are minimally sheltered and it is going to be COLD.
posted by gumtree at 1:45 PM on December 7, 2010


Don't underestimate the bitter cold. It's literally dangerous not to have a hat or gloves around. You can get frostbite even on a sunny day; especially on a windy day.

Have a heavy winter coat, several hats, several pairs of gloves. Keep a few in your house, some in your car, some at your office. It doesn't really matter what they're made of unless you're doing outdoorsy things, and not just moving from one location where you'll be inside to another. So -- skiing? Hiking? Snowshoeing? Get some specialist gear and look for Gore-tex, moisture-wicking synthetic material that will take sweat away from your body, etc. But if you're just going around day-to-day, simply stay covered. I walked the dogs today and threw on a pair of Home Depot work gloves. Not really awesome but they kept my hands from stinging. At least once a winter I'll find myself in colder-than-expected weather without a hat and I'll pop into a grocery store and get one for $10 or less if I"m going to be outside for more than 10 minutes at a time.

When it's cold out, no one will care if your hat makes you look ridiculous.

Keep a small, portable shovel in your car. You probably don't need to go nuts and also stock a bag of cat litter (for traction when stuck) unless you'll be doing a lot of commuting or you're in a rural area. If you have the means, get a four-wheel drive vehicle. If not, you 'll probably get stuck in a snow bank and it will suck but won't be the end of the world. You might be surprised by strangers who will show up out of nowhere to help dig you out. They are likely not there to rob you. Accept their help but don't go nuts; just say, "Hey, thank you."

Keep some emergency food in your car -- A couple granola bars will be fine. It really is possible to get stranded in white-out conditions.

Your tolerance for the cold will increase. You will catch a cold and it will suck.

On the other hand, I've heard some great stuff about the Twin Cities, no kidding.
posted by Buffaload at 1:49 PM on December 7, 2010


oops -- I forgot while I was typing that you said "no car."
posted by Buffaload at 1:51 PM on December 7, 2010


I don't have particular suggestions about clothing brands, I don't think you really need particularly high-end gear personally, and stuff like hats and gloves do have a tendency to get lost so it's better not expending too much. Aside from insulated boots that keep out wet (littleflowers is absolutely on with that one, nothing makes it suck worse or faster than wet and/or cold feet - Sorel type boots work well, I get by fine with cheap-ish knock-offs). Beyond that a good heavy stocking cap, thinsulate-lined gloves, a wool or similar scarf, and an insulated parka (I prefer one that extends below the waist) are it. The body is surprisingly resilient and you do physically adjust to it somewhat.

It will be very important to understand your transit options because that will dictate mostly how much walking and standing around in the cold you will have to do.

Learn to use the bus/light rail system. It's not as bad as some say but it gets less reliable in terms of showing up when it's supposed to in the winter and particularly when whether is bad, so always dress for a potential longish wait when you're catching the bus during/soon after long weather.

If you are going to be doing stuff downtown Minneapolis get to know the Skyway system, you can get around a lot without ever going outside. Taxis are fairly ubiquitous, though not so much that you aren't going to have to call ahead for one except for at the airport or downtown.

You don't have to worry about Snow Emergencies if you are not driving a car, that is about where you can park when they're plowing the roads after major snowfalls.
posted by nanojath at 1:55 PM on December 7, 2010


Always wear nice (no holes) socks, since you will remove your snow boots when you visit people. (I learned this living in northern Michigan.)
posted by Carol Anne at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You'll discover how well the human body is able to acclimate to temperatures. I lived in Interior Alaska for several years and after a spell of -50, I would often leave the house wearing just a hooded sweatshirt, baseball cap, jeans, and sneakers when it warmed up to 0. I've since moved to a location with a much warmer climate, and now I'm bundled up at +30.

There isn't much to it. Get some thick wool socks, some gloves, a knit cap, and a winter jacket and you're good to go.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 2:00 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I lived near the Canadian border, my favorite trick was to get all wrapped up 10 minutes before going out. It helped build up a little heat buffer, I guess.

Scarves are good because they plug the gaps in the edges of your jacket and hat.

Fingers and toes are the hardest to keep warm. Double socks and gloves can help--thin inner synthetic layer, thick outer layer.

Down is warmer than fleece.

It will be very important to understand your transit options because that will dictate mostly how much walking and standing around in the cold you will have to do.

What nanojath said. Stay warm while moving is relatively easy. While standing, it's a whole nother ballgame.
posted by the_blizz at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2010


Oooooh. I am from Minneapolis and have lived there my whole life. I agree 100% with the people who recommend warmth over fashion. I've made that mistake many times. Also, I don't have a car, and thus have taken the bus for much of my adult life. It's just fine, but yes, prepare to freeze at the bus stop (they're just wimpy little shelters). I wholeheartedly recommend super warm and waterproof boots. It's the worst to have freezing feet. So boots, a cozy hat, thick gloves or mittens, a long coat, long underwear, and a scarf for breathing into (my asthma gets a little worse from all the cold air!)

I definitely think that if you're out waiting for the bus, you're gonna need all this warm stuff. Every once in awhile, if the weather is really bad, the bus doesn't show, and then you're really screwed if you're wearing crappy shoes, or don't have a hat. Believe me!

It's also fun to bring a Thermos of tea or coffee with you if you're walking around outside or waiting for the bus. :)

Have fun! This is my first winter away from Minneapolis and I really miss freezing my ass off. :)
posted by sucre at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've already gotten great detailed advice about clothing. I'll only chime in to say that I personally find down parka's warmer than wool coats. And better to be safe than sorry on with the long underwear. Nothing is more uncomfortable than giant goosebumps rubbing up against cold touch jeans.

There is a huge difference between a still, sunny, 20F day and a gray, gusty 20F day. You may adjust to the cold weather (I personally prefer it to anything over 85F), but gusty days with wind chills below the double digits? They are miserable and it's best to take those wind chill advisories seriously.

I think that your skin and hair will be in for the biggest shock. Not only from the outside temperatures but also indoor heating can really suck the moisture out of your skin. Seriously, we're having our first little bit of cold weather here in DC and while it's hardly frigid, the heat at work and at home has kicked on enough that I've woken up with a bloody nose for the last 3 mornings. So if you don't currently use a facial or body moisturizer, you may want to consider it. If your nose gets so dry that it starts bleeding, you might want to start using a neti pot. You can also put a tiny dab of pure vitamin E oil in each nostril. Your hair can also get drier and more staticky, so you may need (more) product. Beware of the dreaded winter "hat hair." I've never tried it, but purportedly running a fabric softener sheet over your hair will prevent static cling and weird fly away hair post hat removal.

I'd second taking vitamin D and make sure that you stay hydrated (I find that I don't get as thirsty in the winter or am less inclined to want a nice cold glass of water on a freezing day). Otherwise I don't think that there's any need to change your diet.
posted by kaybdc at 2:12 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, should I grow my hair a bit longer? Does longer hair help?

Are you planning to blow dry it? Frozen hair sucks. I'd recommend keeping it short and covering your head and neck with a hat and scarf.

You might want to get a spare hat and set of gloves, in fact. I lose hats and gloves every winter.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:19 PM on December 7, 2010


I wouldn't say you should invest in multiple sets of hats/gloves or Arctic-exploration-caliber boots if you're just going to be here 3 months. It's not like you'll be 100 miles from civilization. If you find you need more/better than what you have when you get here, you can acquire them.

I'd advise against growing out your hair for warmth - gets itchy under a hat, imo.

Scarves help a lot even when you're inside. The neck/collar area loses more heat than you'd think.

You're really going to want your ears covered; consider a hat with earflaps.

The conventional wisdom is that if your hands are cold, cover your head. YMMV.

I don't think there's anything different you should do diet-wise; the temptation will be to go carb-crazy in the dark days of winter, but that just makes you feel more like staying in bed all the time. Some people feel as though they benefit from sitting under those daylight-simulating lamps for an hour or so a day.

Most weather is pretty tolerable as long as your body is in motion. I see runners out in mighty cold temperatures. A lot just depends on your personal metabolism, I think.

Have a great time and try to get to a sledding hill at least once during your stay!
posted by lakeroon at 2:29 PM on December 7, 2010


I just moved to Minneapolis from the east coast. It's okay. Really. Okay, maybe it'll be a bit of a shock to you since you're only ever used to putting on a sweatshirt on the coldest of days, but the weather isn't unlivable. Get used to bundling up. I wear lots of layers, hat, scarf... basically everything is well-covered except for my eyes.

You'll want to go to Kaplan Brothers and get yourself some Fox River Double Ragg wool mittens, and/or Choppers deerskin mittens.

And thus far, even cycling down to 5F has been okay.

I don't know about colder. It hasn't been colder than that yet.
posted by entropone at 2:45 PM on December 7, 2010


So, should I grow my hair a bit longer? Does longer hair help? I'm guessing it does but y'all know better.

I have had both shoulder-length hair and super short buzzed hair in the cold and I prefer short. As Metroid Baby says: Frozen hair sucks.
posted by The World Famous at 2:53 PM on December 7, 2010


When you're taking a bus, keep an eye on the NexTrip times for your stop on the Metro Transit website. NexTrip provides real-time information on when the bus will actually arrive. When your bus is running ten minutes late, it's nice to be able to spend those extra ten minutes indoors rather than standing at a bus stop wondering when the hell the thing will be there.

If you're unlucky, your stop will be a sign on a post. Otherwise, you can expect a small, partially-enclosed, unheated shelter that can at least provide some wind protection. Enroll in the "Guaranteed Ride Home" program (check the Transit website). There is no cost, and you will receive two vouchers good for up to $25 each on a cab ride. You have to pay the driver, but mail in a receipt and your voucher for a check from Metro Transit.

When circumstances call for a cab, you should call ahead if you're not in downtown or uptown. Generally, you will find a cab faster in those two areas by hailing one off the street.

As a lifelong Twin Cities resident, I usually just throw on a hat and a coat for a trip to the store or a bus stop...
posted by punishinglemur at 3:12 PM on December 7, 2010


Oh yeah -- enjoy your time here! Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't have fun. We certainly do!
posted by punishinglemur at 3:16 PM on December 7, 2010


If you want to buy high-quality winter stuff at clearance prices when you arrive, hit up Thrifty Outfitters (upstairs in Midwest Mountaineering). It's right next to downtown and cheaper than REI, but beware that you'll have much better luck if you're a size medium (a lot of their sample closeouts are medium). I spend way too much money there, but they are awesome. You can also join their e-mail list and get coupons.

And I vote for short hair - if you grow it longer and then put a winter hat on for more than a couple minutes, you are in for some seriously uncontrollable hat hair.
posted by Maarika at 3:38 PM on December 7, 2010


Glove liners. They're warm but they're also thin enough to fit under thicker winter gloves. When it's very cold and you have to take off your gloves to fish your keys out of your jacket pocket... you'll be glad you have liner gloves. They're also handy to keep in your coat pocket without any bulk. I bought these last year and they're holding up nicely. Before this, I used to wear mittens over gloves, but the liners are handier.
posted by bentley at 3:41 PM on December 7, 2010


Get a warm, dorky looking, thick down coat. Even moving here from Iowa, just to the south, I am always impressed by how Minnesotans wisely choose warmth over fashion every time. It took me a year or two of cool looking but ineffective wool coats before I got on message. Keep the hair short. Because, HAT.
posted by Malla at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2010


I recommend neck warmers. More comfortable than a turtleneck (and you can pull it up over your face for extra protection), less prone to moving around and leaving gaps than scarves.
posted by mogget at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2010


Smartwool socks, hat, gloves, scarf, warm coat, wool sweaters. Layers. Minimize exposed skin.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2010


January is the coldest month of the year. Even if you're only in Mpls for a month or two, it really might be worth investing in a good down coat--you can get by with a good wool peacoat or something if you layer up properly, but you'll still be cold.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:47 PM on December 7, 2010


I live in Minneapolis, and don't have a car.

I think the general trick is to be as comfortable as you can outside, and then still look respectable when you arrive somewhere while remaining comfortable.

I have a wool hat that covers my ears and insulated wool gloves from Target ($15?). Get a scarf.

When the high temp is going to be above 15F and the wind is mild, I wear a Columbia basic fleece with a Russel hoodie over top of it. I put them on and take them off as a single unit, so it's easy and doesn't look too weird.

If the temperature dips and/or the wind is high, I have an LL Bean wool trenchcoat. Underneath that I wear the aforementioned Columbia fleece, The coat's pockets are superwarm, otherwise I would get better gloves. (Again, I can remove the coat as a layer, or the coat+fleece if I want to look cool for some reason.)

Give yourself a few days, though -- don't lose a nose or anything, but I always am a total whiner for the first few days of winter. Then I realize that I can be outside in the cold and still be alive. But, after that, buy yourself everything you realize you need.

If you're standing outside waiting for someone? Pace back and forth, quickly. Or just tell the people inside that you're waiting for someone. The beauty of Minneapolis is that everyone here knows how cold it is, and they're on your side.
posted by nicething at 6:15 PM on December 7, 2010


Enough people have said "moisturizer!" that I'm just going to nth it -- and then add, really, all over your body, all the time. There is nothing more painful than chapped shins, except maybe chapped inner thighs.

Also, pro tip from my best friend in high school: moisturizer (which you always have with you, because you are moisturizing *all the time*, of course) is really good at killing static in your hair. dab a bit on your fingertips, rub it over them enough so it's mostly invisible, and then run your fingertips gently along/through your staticky hair. No static, minimal hair grossness (no one will be able to tell you did it, except in a good way).

Pretty much that and long underwear and I was all set for MI winters -- but I was coming from San Francisco, so I already had a long coat and mittens.
posted by obliquicity at 9:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you all for your thoughtful responses!
I can't believe how long some of your responses are. You've truly gone above and beyond :) I appreciate your help so much.

I know I am now better prepared than I was before I asked this question.

Have a good December y'all!
posted by fantodstic at 9:13 AM on December 8, 2010


Does longer hair help?

Not that much, but if you've ever wanted to grow a beard, now is the time to do it. It's nature's scarf. Also, stock up on Replacements cds.

If you really really want to be assured of warmth go to a Farm and Fleet or Fleet Farm and pick up a Carhartt Quilted Arctic Jacket and Quilted Overalls. That's what people who work outside in the winter wear.
posted by drezdn at 11:14 AM on December 8, 2010


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