I'm going to let you in on a well-kept secret of many of us living up here in the northern states: we love our cold winters.
Numerous time a year, I'm asked the negatively-slanted question, "You live in North Dakota, what about the winter?" My response? "I love it."
And I'm not the only one who cherishes our legendary winter weather. In fact, there’s beauty and opportunity that many seasoned North Dakotans know to be some of the best reasons to live in our “up North” state.
10 Reasons To Love Winter In North Dakota:
10. Winter is beautiful
In North Dakota, our winter comes with sunshine. Even on the most bitterly cold days, the sun still shines.
9. Winter makes us slow down
Of course we drive slower in the winter for safety reasons, but there is another greater type of seasonal slow down shared by @Rhubarb_venison, "Books, thick socks, flannel sheets, fireplaces, hearty meals, red wine, long nights, stillness. In winter we are reminded—forcefully sometimes—to slow down, be patient, to flow with the current instead of straining against. I find myself outside in the cold, breathing in the sharp air as if I could soak winter's stillness into my lungs, my bones, creating a peaceful wintry space to carry with me all year long."
This restful slowness is my favorite gift of winter.
8. Winter = no bugs.
The sub-zero temperatures send bugs and rodents scurrying, which means we enjoy about half the year completely pest-free. I'm totally OK with that.
7. Winter helps us appreciate the warmth
We can't fully feel the warmth of the spring sun unless we've felt the bite of the winter. There is a phenomenon that happens in North Dakota on the first warm spring day, the entire state comes out of hibernation and goes outside. It's an unofficial state-wide celebration of warmth—of sidewalk chalk, roller-blades (yes, that sport is alive and well here), bicycles, and pure euphoric joy. A day of truly celebrating warmth can only happen after months of living in the cold.
6. Winter is family friendly
North Dakotans spend a lot of time together in the winter. My family spends the most time indoors together enjoying long family dinners, watching movies, and playing games. But winter provides plenty of "me time" too, so whether you want to learn to knit or master the art of home beer brewing, winter gives you time to do the things that don't get done when the weather is warm.
5. Winter challenges us and makes us tough
It's all about grit. The kids raised in North Dakota are tougher than most. In Bismarck, elementary school students have outdoor recess year-round, unless the windchill temperature drops below -15°F.
It's no wonder North Dakota kids grow up to become resilient super stars like Carson Wentz (2016 NFL Draft second overall pick by the Eagles), and Cara Mund (winner of the 2017 Miss America Pageant).
4. Winter is special
Have you ever seen parhelia (the bright circular rainbows around the sun)? Or northern lights? Both are quite common in North Dakota, yet remarkably rare elsewhere in the world.
3. Winter is an easy excuse to buy lots of clothes and shoes
Even the smallest North Dakotans know how to layer and own entirely different "summer" and "winter" clothing.
Fun fact: In 1936, North Dakota temperatures went from a winter low of -60°F, to a summer high of 121°F degrees—a range of 181 degrees. That means that North Dakota has one of the largest temperate ranges in the entire world (the largest range is in Sibera, Russia with 188°F). So, consider this a perfect reason to buy all the things: sandals, swimsuits, scarves, slippers, and snow boots. You'll need them.
2. Winter is fun!
One word: SNOW.
Sledding, exploring, snowshoeing, skiing/snowboarding, ice hockey, snowmobiling, curling, ice fishing, snow angel making, and snow ball fights! North Dakota winter gives us plenty of time to get out and have fun.
Looking for even more frosty adventures? Check out the year-round group hikes at Ft. Lincoln State Park, or spend a night in a scenic and cozy yurt at Cross Ranch State Park.
1. Winter is part of who we are
We are people of the legendary north. If my great-great grandparents lived through this winter in a sod house, surely I can live though the same winter weather (with modern conveniences) without a complaint.
My best advice: Cook a pot of warm soup and curl up with a good book. Slow down. Turn inward. Enjoy this special season, for it will soon be spring.