Playing in the snow can be fun despite the cold

Jordan Jones

Jordan Jones

Another layer of snow fell Dec. 8. As a busy week of last-minute papers and tests continue, students may find themselves cooped up inside.

I asked many students how they cope with the winter blues in Brookings. Many people prefer to stay inside to read a book, play poker and video games or drink.

Here are 12 ideas to get outside and make use of the snow:

1. Snow angels and Snowmen: Grab a group of friends and try this basic winter activity. Sometimes the snow is like a giant, white pillow able to help you forget your worries.

2. Hunting: Hunting season is here. A lot of South Dakota tourism thrives on hunting. Senior Aaron Olson said that fresh snow allows easier tracking with blood trails.

3. Photography: The numerous winter photos being displayed in Yeager Hall testify to the fact that photography is great during winter. Some of my best photos resulted from frost and snowy evenings. Take pictures of sunsets reflecting off the snow, snowflakes or people outdoors. If you are lucky, you may even catch a sundog – a rainbow-like reflection around the sun.

4. Ice Fishing: Similar to fishing in the summer, ice fishing provides good company, good food and maybe some excitement. Tony Winters, a political science major, said, “Sinai Lake is always a good place to go.” Other lakes around the area include Oakwood and Poinsett.

5. Ice Skating: Clear a section of a lake or pond or head down to the Larson Ice Center.

6. Snow Forts: While many may think this is only for kids, it can still present a lot of fun. An alternative to making a pile would be to find where cities or parking lots dump their snow. My brother, several friends and I would find the largest snow pile in town. Most years the snow fort would include a fireplace and many tunnels. We would line the walls with candles for light. If made properly, the chimney lets most of the smoke out without letting in sunlight. Before long, the roof turns into a crystal-like dome, complete with stalactite icicles covering the ceiling.

7. Snowballs: What better way to tell your friends that you love them than with a nice cold snowball from behind? Whether or not it turns into an all-out war could depend on your friends.

8. Snow Football: If you still feel the need for revenge, you may want to pick up a game of snow football.

9. Sledding: This is probably the most classic snow-time activity. In Brookings go to Larson’s Hill, and the old landfill by the softball diamonds for a much less crowded (but not as tall) location.

10. Snowmobiles: Many people prefer their sleds to be motorized. If the downhill sleds are not fast enough, the motorized version can accelerate to over 90 mph.

11. Winter driving: This may be for the fearless, those who know how to drive in the snow or maybe just those who haven’t learned to respect the snow. Doughnuts or other designs can often be found scribbled across parking lots. It might be illegal in some places, so find a friend with a good-sized pickup and get permission from a farmer with a good field to drive in.

12. Power kiting sports: With the lack of hills around Brookings, downhill skiing or snowboarding is out. Instead use a kite to pull a snowboard or skis. Mark Broich, research assistant at GIS on campus, said it is a “nice way to turn not-so pleasant winter experiences into fun. I came to a new place and needed a new hobby. I always liked wind sports, and kiting provides a year-round opportunity.”

So when you get tired of school, needing that last-minute break, forget about the cleaning supplies. Step outside and take in a breath of fresh air.