Preparing for Vermont’s Alter-Ego; Winter Is Coming

February 7, 2017

Campus Activities, News

By Nolan Waters

Exhaust can be seen billowing from cars that sit idle in parking lots. Footprints tracking in the frosted grass on the quad. That unique funky smell the radiators give off once they’ve first been turned on. And after a late afternoon class, the walk up the hill back to the tropical abode of numerous blankets is overshadowed by the fact that the sun has already set. Yup, all signs that winter is nearly here, and I want to make sure everyone is more ‘like it or not’ than ‘ready or not’ for a New England winter.

A New England winter brings a mixed bag of pros and cons, many of which depend on how ready someone is for the cold and snowy conditions. The National Weather Service office in Albany, New York, recorded the coldest temperature in Putney, VT in January of 1957 at -30F. Luckily, a record is a record for a reason.

The average temperature of November through March hovers right around low to mid-twenties, with lows reaching into the lower teens. It’s not enough to just dress warmly, you need to dress to survive. A light windbreaker and pajama pants will not suffice through the winter. A heavy coat, hat, gloves, snow pants and boots will fit the bill to keep someone comfortable and safe, as frost-bite, a condition where skin freezes, is a real danger.

Temperature aside, another chilling association of winter is flu season. The Center for Disease Control reports that the winter months, specifically February, are the times when flu cases are at their peak. It is during the winter that hand-washing becomes more crucial than ever to help prevent the spread of the flu.

The Landmark College Health Services department, recognizing this, offers flu vaccinations to students. “So far this year, there have been no laboratory confirmed cases of the flu in Vermont but, it is only a matter of time before the flu makes its way to Vermont, and it’s better to be vaccinated a few weeks in advance so your body can use the vaccine to build up antibodies,” Health Services Director Michael Daley says. An appointment can be scheduled for a flu vaccination by emailing health services. As well as looking out for your health, you should look out for your car’s health.

For students who have a car on campus, a few steps should be taken to prepare for winter conditions. Making sure you have an ice scraper in your car is a must, as well as bringing a coat every time you drive, in case of a break down. Check the fluid levels of the car frequently to avoid breakdowns. Snow tires also help driving in snowy conditions, but are not a replacement for cautious driving. Also, during times of heavy snowfall, Facilities and Campus Safety may send out email notifications to students requiring them to move their vehicles to allow for plowing of the parking lot. Traditionally, students would be asked to move their cars to the old facilities lot, which, thanks to the athletic field construction, no longer exists. It was not made clear at the moment what the new plan is, but it will be announced when needed.

Rest assured, winters in New England aren’t all doom and gloom – nobody would live here otherwise. Up for skiing or snowboarding? The College offers free shuttles to and from Mt. Snow in western Vermont and Stratton Mountain in Central Vermont for a day on the slopes. Exact dates will be posted soon, but dates typically begin during the start of the spring semester.

Skiing may be great, but arguably the holiest of all things winter is the elusive snow day. Nothing much tops waking up to a heaping helping fresh of powder on the ground and an email saying classes are canceled. This is however a rare event, as the college is battle tested against Vermont winters, and will not surrender easily. Most importantly, just have fun with winter. Have snowball fights, sled down the hill, make snow men. Try to embrace the colder months and don’t let cabin fever creep in. ♦



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