Saturday, January 4, 2014

13 Below, Plus A Wind Chill? Time To Go Surfing!

I have an embarrassing confession to make.
Apparently, surfing on Lake Superior is big when
it's below zero. Those are icicles around the guy's face.
Not me, I'm staying inside in this cold weather.  

I'm a lifelong Vermonter, yet I'm a cold weather wimp. And it's getting worse.

Don't get me wrong. There are things about winter that I like. To me, a beautiful day is one right after a powdery snowstorm and the sun comes out and the temperature gets up to 20 degrees.

Time to snowshoe!

However, we are coming out of a cold snap that proves my wimpiness.

 We had an inch or two of new snow the other day, but the temperature remained well below zero. I usually clear new snow from the driveway first thing in the morning, but this time I waited until noon, when the sun was out and the temperature had climbed to minus 5.

And then I went right back inside to a warm house as soon as I finished the quick shoveling job.

I'm also still trying to hack away at the three or four inches of ice that has hermetically sealed my driveway and property since a pre-Christmas ice storm.

Today, the temperature got up to 15 degrees so I went to work outside. But the wind was gusting to 35 mph. The wind chill was too much. I went inside after just a half hour.

Which brings me to some people who would really be disgusted by me. These are the winter surfers on Lake Superior.

There they are in a video showing them enjoying the waves when the air temperature was 13 below zero. (Lake Superior is huge, so it takes a long time to freeze, even though it's subjected to repeated bouts of subzero weather starting in November)

The video shows people changing into their wet suits, nonchalantly standing barefoot in the snow.  I also love the large icicles hanging off the surfers' wet suit head caps and framing their faces.

Writing for, here's how writer Stephen Regenold described the scene:

"It was minus 13 degrees F last weekend at Stoney Point. Big winds cranked the chill factor to -30F or lower, some estimate cite. The group wore thick wetsuits and surfed for hours between warm-ups in idling cars. Noted one of the surfers featured in the video here, "the water felt super warm by comparison at 38 degrees F."

Yep, in northern Minnesota, 38 degree water is warm.

By Sunday night and Monday, wind chills are forecast to sink to as low as 70 below near Lake Superior in what is being described as the strongest cold snap in decades to hit the region.

Somehow, I think the surfers will be out.

Meanwhile, here in Vermont, where the temperature is forecast to sink to a mild, boring 5 below, I think I'll stay inside.

Here's the video of the those crazy surfers in Lake Superior:

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