This past Christmas vacation marks one of the coldest on record for Crookston Minnesota, the temperatures never going above 10 degrees.

    The high temperature on most days was a negative number. On Wednesday, December 27, Crookston set a new record low of -23, the next day tying the record low with -14, and again on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st tying with -25 and -27.

    Needless to say, this winter break was a cold one. Starting the 2018 New Year off chilly, with a high temperature of -7.

    My personal belief is that when the temperature is lower than 10 it doesn’t matter, it’s just cold. All those low temperatures don’t even factor in the wind chill yet. That just makes the cold seem unbearable.

    This holiday season was one of the coldest ones I can remember, yet looking back, 2013 was a record-setting year for the cold, and so was 2014.

    The cold weather dip, though, for this year in Crookston is a bit more unusual because of how long it has lasted. The polar vortex has moved lower into North America causing the dropping temperatures. It doesn’t mean it’s going to last forever, but here are some ways to take advantage of the cold this year or, hopefully, next year.

    Turn water into snow by taking boiling water outside when it’s around -30 degrees and throwing it up into the air. Cold air is very dense, so when boiling water is thrown into that chilly, dry air, there's no place for those water droplets to go. So the water vapor clings to microscopic particles in the air and forms crystals.

    Just like the formation of snowflakes. Doing this can also give you some very interesting pictures.

    Some winter activities that do not require the extreme cold, but are still fun to remember to do this winter, are things like downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. Look out for special deals around the holidays, big events, or at different times to get discounted prices. Some skiing places give cheaper rental prices if you’re willing to come later or earlier in the day, depending on the place.

    Another winter activity that isn’t so expensive or time consuming is sledding. Although you can spend a whole day doing it, a few hours is plenty for most. Plus, it is also a great workout, walking up the hill is more work than you’d think. Just grab a group of friends and head out to a hill. Crookston is fortunate to have a few great hills for this activity. Skating is another great activity that, because of our wonderful arena, we have open skating times almost everyday. You can easily rent a pair of skates from a local business; although my mom would always look for skates at secondhand places, a good sharpening and the skates are just like new.

    Always remember after any cold activity you need to warm up afterward, hot chocolate is a classic warm drink that makes the cold melt away. Christmas may be over, but there is always time to be with the family.
    Wagner is enrolled in the communications and broadcasting course taught by Kristi Swanson at Crookston High School.