Fun Things to do Over Winter Break!

1. Sledding with friends!

Speed, steering, connection to sled, these are all important things to consider when heading down the hill. It's definitely the most fun to head down a hill at the fastest speed, unless it's down a windy trail and you lose control. Flying off a jump, getting air is also prime, but not if you lose your sled while in the air, or hurt yourself upon landing. If you don't have a great sled, no problem; I've heard of people using mattresses, pillows wrapped in black trash bags, really anything slippery enough to slide and comfortable enough to host the weight of a human.

2. Snow caves!

I've made a number of snow caves during my life in Alaska. Sometimes I sleep in them, sometimes it's just for the fun of constructing something with friends. When I was younger, my dad, brother, and I would shovel snow off the roof to help reduce the stress on the roof from weight. We figured since we were already shoveling the snow from up high, we might as well pile it all into the same spot in the backyard. In doing that, we created a snow hill to dig in right in the back yard, which we slept in the following night after completion.

3. Bonfires!

One of the oldest traditions we have here at UAF is called Starvation Gulch. It dates back to the 1920's, when the university's first president, Charles Bunnell, began a tradition of having each incoming class construct a massive structure of scrap wood to light on fire; a sort of passing of the torch of knowledge. They would then over the next few years compete to see who could engineer the largest flame, some reaching 50+ feet. But that's just one event. Students have bonfires on their own (off campus) all winter long. Sometimes it's even cold enough to gather around a fire in the middle of a frozen pond or river.

4. Watch wintery movies or play wintery video games!

Not every winter activity has to be outside though. Sometimes it's good to just come in, snuggle up, and chill out. What I sometimes like to do is watch a tv show or movie set during wintertime, like some episodes of Arthur, or the movie Snowpiercer. Another good idea is playing a video game set in the snow, like parts of Skyrim or Assassins Creed. Books that mention snowy scenes are also more believable to me when it's snowy outside. Like, I'm not about to read the book Holes while it's -20 outside. It just wouldn't feel authentic!

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