Twelve ways to snowgasm

I was cooled by the weather by warmed by the conversation during an excursion with my Hike It Baby group. Photograph by Hailee Morin.

While many people used doomsday speech like “snowmageddon” to refer to the seemingly endless flakes filling our shovels, our yards, and our lives, others observed each falling flake with glee and immediately took to social media to celebrate this unexpected “snowgasm.”  With a day of partial sunshine forecasted for Friday, it is time for those of us who have harbored some resentment towards these innocent flakes to join the snow enthusiast and embrace the seemingly endless possibilities that these innumerable ice crystals bring.  Here are twelve things you should do immediately with or without your children to cultivate an appreciation for the winter wonderland that is now your backyard.

  1. Paint it – Our new snow cover is the ultimate artist’s canvas.  Find some squirt bottles, mix in some food coloring and water, and get your Bob Ross on in your yard.  If you decide to incorporate some happy little trees into your colorful masterpiece, beware that brown paint may look like your pet or child is suffering from severe indigestion.  A recipe for success can be found here.  
  2. Hide and seek in it – While it is nearly impossible to play this game in the traditional sense as most people’s colorful winter apparel is easy to spot against the white backdrop, hiding glow sticks or other colorful objects beneath the snow and hosting a competitive seeking game will enthrall and, ideally, exhaust even the most irritable house bound child.  Tina, a parent blogger based in Texas, chronicled this experience with her twenty-seven month old son on her blog Simple Fun for Kids. Check out the article here.
  3. Sculpt it – A winter yard can not be complete without it’s own fabulous snowman complete with carrot nose, glow stick eyes (neighbors, be warned), and a battered old power scarf or tie.  With snow paint, you can color your snow creation and make him or her especially unique and creative.  My snowman will have orange skin and hair and any time he tweets, I pull his carrot nose out a little further.  Click here for other suggestions on how to create other lasting artistic creation in your backyard.
  4. Dig in it – Take your child’s Tonka trucks or other oversized construction toys outside.  This pile of snow is the ultimate sandbox for your rambunctious son or daughter.  Evacuate other smaller items, excavate tunnels, and dig roads in the snow with his or her favorite oversized equipment.  Who knows?  You might have more fun than your child.
  5. Live in it – There is something magical about building a ice cold, snow encrusted home and spending a little time hanging out.  Your kid will love you a little more if you belt out “Let It Go” together while encased in an ice “castle.”  Seriously though, frozen tunes sound better when you’re frozen, or so I’ve heard.
  6. Fight with it – Is there anything more rewarding than a snowy battle?  Flinging packed snow powder at people is a harmless way to release all of the pent up aggression that may have built up over the course of the last four or five snow days spent inside. Did you husband “forget” to trim his dog’s nails again?  Is the sound of her clicking across your hardwood floor driving you insane?  Hurl a snowball at his back in a “friendly” snow war.  You’ll feel so much better.  If you completed the previous step and built yourself a snow castle to hide behind, you won’t have to use your baby as a human shield.  (I’m joking.  No babies were hurt in the creation of this list.)
  7. Relax in it –  You’ve been fighting, so now you’re tired. This fabulous powder conforms to your back like the largest, most expensive memory foam mattress.  On this surface, it won’t matter that your ten-month-old daughter likes to sleep diagonally in the center of the bed while slowly prodding you in the face with her sticky, stinky toddler toes.  New England is one giant cushion right now, and you’re lying in the center of it.  
  8. Eat It –  Hopefully, your yard contains at least one untrodden on area, so your compatriots and you can indulge in one of winter’s finest delights: snow ice-cream. This fresh white canvas is looking to be scooped up, mixed, and consumed.  Every year when I eat my annual batch, I am transported to my pre-teen, Laura Ingalls Wilder obsessed self. This recipe calls for rainbow sprinkles, and let’s face it, colorful food taste better.  Make it. Consume it. Enjoy it.  Then thank the snow gods for sending this manna from heaven.
  9. Wander in it – Strap on a pair of snowshoes and wander into the transformed landscape.  In this new pristine panorama, the possibilities seem endless, and there are very few limits, except for five or six days of snowstorm induced inactivity spent foraging in the refrigerator like a bear about to enter hibernation. Huffing and puffing my way to the back porch, which is five or six feet away from the driveway, may be as far as I made it today, but the endless possibilities will still be there tomorrow. I feel confident that I may make it to the storage shed, which is easily an additional ten steps, to retrieve a larger shovel tomorrow.
  10. Slide on it – The first time I sat my daughter in a sled, she embodied the vast majority of hibernating Mainers when she cried.  Prior to this moment, she hadn’t realized that so much cold wetness could be compiled in one place.  She didn’t care that it was both smooth like finely honed glass and fluffy like a cloud.  Her general displeasure with its coldness and “wet ickiness” was somewhat alleviated when she had the opportunity to experience the great joy of floating across its perfect surface while being pulled by her slightly sweaty and out of breath mother.  Like Lennon, you may find your irritation with this great white wonderland dissipating when you smoothly sail down a small hill of fluff.  
  11. Ski or snowboard on it –  While the local metropolises are as vacant as ghost towns as many people enter hibernation mode to wait for the winter’s end, the the mountains and hillsides are alive with activity as skiers and snowboarders flock to their locations to take advantage of the newly descended powder.  Skiers and snowboarders are the founders of the “snowgasm,” and with good reason, as flying down a hill on skis or a snowboard is a heady, exhilarating experience.  Upon becoming a parent, I was surprised to discover that many area ski mountains like Saddleback Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Shawnee Peak,  have on site daycares that can be utilized for a nominal fee.  While I love downhill skiing, Nordic skiing is a more affordable pastime, especially if you own your own gear. We try to stick to flat, family friendly trails and utilize a backpack or a snow sled, depending on my daughter’s mood and our comfort level with the trail.  One of my favorite adventurous mom bloggers, Brave Ski Mom shared some additional tips here.
  12. Admire it – If all else fails, take a few moments it in front of a beautiful window with a hot beverage and watch the flakes fall. There is something tranquil and meditative about staring at tiny pieces of frozen water as they float from the sky.

Falling flakes in Gray, Maine. Photograph courtesy of Douglass Morin.

Hailee Morin

About Hailee Morin

Hailee Morin is the author of Maine Mommy Musings for the BDN blog network, an amateur photographer, and mother.