Monday, February 12, 2007

Cold Enough for Ya?

Well, Mother Nature seems to disagree with last week’s Groundhog Day prognostications of an early spring – as shown by the 10 feet of snow that got dumped on upstate New York in the past few days. So, if winter is going to be with us for a while, we might as well enjoy it, right? Which is exactly what they’re doing up in Syracuse, in the heart of the Empire State's “lake effect” snow belt. On Thursday, Feb 15th, as part of their annual Winterfest carnival, organizers are hoping to tempt some 4,000 hearty Syracusans to brave the cold and flop in the snow to set a new world “snow angel” record.

Local schoolkids and Syracuse University students are being given the day off their studies, because competition for this record is getting fierce. The original snow angel record holder is way out west, in Bismarck North Dakota, where at 1pm this Saturday Feb 17th locals will attempt to reclaim the world record they first set back in 2002, when 1,791 angels-makers flapped their arms on the snow-covered lawn of the state capitol.

Bismarck held the record until last year, when students at Michigan Tech in the upper Upper Peninsula made more than twice that many angels during their annual Winter Carnival. (They also set a new world record for “World’s Largest Snowball Fight", and for making the “World’s Largest Snowball”).

To my mind, winter is generally not the ideal time for taking long road trips, but if you actually like wearing all your clothes at the same time, you may prefer to think about making a reverse migration and hitting the road to one of these winter celebrations. The oldest and perhaps the biggest winter carnival party (in St Paul, Minnesota) has just come to an end, but there’s still time to make your way to another “cool” capital, Ottawa. Every February, Canada’s national capital city is transformed into a winter wonderland, with dozens of snow slides, ice sculptures and miles of ice-skating along the historic Rideau Canal (the “World’s Largest Skating Rink”, just to keep up the Guinness-powered theme).

Stay cool!


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