11 Things We All Hate About Winter in Wisconsin

11 Things We Hate About Winter

I tried to look on the bright side when I wrote 10 Optimistic Reasons to Look Forward to winter in Wisconsin. But now that I’ve officially met the season’s bitter wind chill face to face – I thought I would share the more pessimistic “I hate winter in Wisconsin” side to the story.

Of course, some of us love snowmobiling in Wisconsin, cuddling up together by the fire, or enjoying the snow at Christmas. But let’s be honest, there’s plenty to hate.

Do you despise these 11 things about a Wisconsin winter too? I’m sure there’s more, so comment if you have a good one.

1. When the Gas Tank is Almost on E

Gas tank almost on E in Wisconsin WinterWe’ve all been there when it’s below zero, snow is blowing everywhere, and you’re almost out of gas!

You dread having to get back out of your warm car to stand there and freeze while you fill up.

And trying to get the credit card in the slot and push all the buttons is a challenge especially when you’re wearing a big fat mitten.

2. Air So Cold It Hurts Your Lungs

Air so cold you can hardly breatheSometimes winter in Wisconsin can take your breath away. And not in the “OMG it’s such a beautiful Winter Wonderland” sort of way. More like an Arctic blast of air that shocks you and makes you gasp.

Our lungs aren’t the only part of our respiratory systems that suffer during winter. Your nose hairs freeze up; your kid’s noses run nonstop and don’t even think about licking a flag pole. Not even if someone triple dog dares you.

3. Scraping an Inch of Ice Off the Windshield

Frozen stuck on ice Brushing snow off the car…no big deal. It’s the stupid, stubborn ice that sticks to your car like some sort of frozen glue. Hate!

I’m talking about the stuff that makes your only ice scraper snap in two. All you can do is sigh (or perhaps scream in frustration) and then dig through your wallet to find a credit card to try and finish the job.

Or maybe you can melt it away with some window washer fluid… But that would just make it look like you crashed into a Smurf. Finally, you just let your car “warm up” in the driveway for 27 minutes until everything eventually melts away.

4. Getting Out the Door With Kids

Getting kids ready in the winter is timelyWhere’s your other boot. Seriously! Where the f@&% is your other boot!

Then there’s the mittens and coat and hat too. Why does it take forever to complete this process? You’re jamming feet into boots, trying to fit fingers into tiny gloves, trying to get that stinking half-broken zipper to work. (Deep breaths, deep breaths)

And it doesn’t help that the kids are still tired and cranky, and you’re just trying to get to work on time – at least once this week!

You get them all put together so they look just like Ralphie’s little brother from A Christmas Story. Then the first thing they do when they get outside is throw their hats and mittens in the snow!

5. The Snow Plow with Bad Timing

Snow Plow You’ve finally finished shoveling the driveway and you’re taking that sigh of relief and all of a sudden you hear the loud roaring beast coming down your side of the street.

No! Don’t do it snow plow, don’t do it! Swoosh! It’s over.

Congratulations, you just received a heavy load of snow in the crack of your driveway. Thank God for the friendly neighbor who comes by with the snow blower and saves the day.

We know you snowplow guys are just doing your job. We know you’re clearing the roads to make them safe for everyone. But really?!

6. Shivering Through Smoke Breaks

Winter Smoke BreaksSmokers have it rough with the smoking ban in Wisconsin as their bad habit means smoking in the worst winter weather.

It’s about the only time non-smokers actually feel bad for smokers. Actually, most non-smokers are laughing at you and shaking their heads.

It’s the biggest proof of just how addictive those cancer sticks can be. People are standing outside buildings huddled together in little nicotine support groups, trying not to be the first one to put out their cigarette and go inside.

There’s also the guy driving down the highway in a blizzard with the window cracked. His frostbitten fingers gingerly hold his Marlboro.

If you’re ever going to kick the habit…there’s no time like winter.

7.  Chapped Lips from Hell

chapped-lips-carmexYou know – those crusty feeling lips that make you want to chew little pieces of skin off until they are smooth again.

Or even worse, the lips that are so dry they burn unless you lick them.

You could probably use some Vitamin C from that glass of orange juice. But drinking OJ feels about the same as having your lips ripped from your face.

No wonder Carmex was invented in Wisconsin!

It’s not just lips either. Everything on your body gets dried out and itchy. Sometimes I just want to lay down in a bathtub filled with lotion.


8. Never Ever Seeing the Sun

Dark and gloomy Winter in WisconsinUsually – sometime during the painful midst of a seemingly never-ending winter when the holidays are long gone – it dawns on us. We’re done with winter. We miss the sun! We’re so deathly sick of the dark and gloomy days.

By this time, everyone’s Seasonal Affective Disorder has really kicked in, we’re gaining a bunch of weight and we’re all claustrophobic from being cooped up with no windows open. Ugh!

If you work a normal 8 to 5 sort of schedule, there’s a good chance you leave home in darkness and arrive when it’s pitch black too. That’s depressing.

There are times when the sun plays Peek-a-boo. It shines down on us for a minute or two, and feeling its warmth is like a little piece of heaven. Then later you’ll hear that “snowstorm Veronica” is about to hit, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Please God, no more snow! Please!?

9. Getting Out of Bed in the Morning

Getting out of bed in winter stinksIt’s soo coooold! Oh please, oh please! Just let me stay under these warm covers forever.

If the dog would just leave you alone, you probably would stay in bed. But when a dog’s gotta go, a dog’s gotta go. So you shuffle to the door and the brisk Wisconsin winter wind slaps you in the face – reminding you exactly who is boss around these parts.

Getting out of the nice hot shower isn’t much easier. And sitting down on the freezing cold toilet seat is the worst!

10. The Woes of Winter Driving

The Woes of Winter DrivingDriving in winter is nerve racking. But driving in winter in Wisconsin can sometimes give you the biggest adrenaline rush of your life. Maybe I’m biased since I crashed my little green Geo Prism into the “Homer” sign during my Winona State college days. Spinning in circles on a slippery highway is very intense! I guess it wasn’t my time to go.

After that incident, I became a conservative “right laner”. And sometimes I grumble under my breath at you over confident “left laners” with your big trucks zooming past me! Err.

There’s so many things to worry about. Black ice, slippery snow drifts, finding the line and staying in your lane. I failed my first drivers test because a stupid 50 foot snow bank was blocking my vision.

Driving in winter stinks – and that is that. It’s hard to see, it’s scary and it’s stressful.

Thank God for snow tires and anti-lock breaks. But still be extra careful on those darn round-a-bouts – they can be a killer.

11. Wind Chill Factor

The Woes of Winter Driving in WisconsinYou’re only as cold as you feel. But in Wisconsin – it often feels cold enough to freeze the fiery gates of hell.

No three words make us groan in despair more than wind chill factor. Or is that two words – windchill factor?

Not many people completely understand how wind chill works (including the meteorologists).

Either way…Wisconsinites know when the weatherman starts talking about how it’s going to be 5-degrees for the high but it’s going to feel like -45 out there…it’s going to suck….plain and simple.

What Do You Hate About Wisconsin Winter?

Eleven reasons to get ticked off at Winter is just the beginning. We’re sure you have better complaints – please tell us about them in the comments.

But no happy winter lovers here. Leave those comments on our more optimistic post about the benefits of Wisconsin Winter – Click Here.

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  1. Claudia Castello says

    i don’t feel bad for smokers in the winter time. that’s what happens when you’re not allowed to smoke inside. you don’t like it, don’t smoke.

    • I sure do agree with tat statement Claudia!!!

    • Tessa Swensen says

      I’m no longer a smoker since 1978 but remember my “discovery” that I was smoking due to social awkwardness at parties. I don’t what is more difficult to shake: a mild cig habit or social awkwardness, but I do believe that occasional cigarette was similar to an allergy shot because while a smoker, the smoke from others didn’t bother me much. Now it’s nauseating but I see the shivering smokers, huddled in the cold, as evidence of the power of cigarettes to addict the users. In Minnesota, businesses post signs on entry doors that smokers have to go at least 20 feet away from the entry. Initially, when having to go outside, they would simply stand right outside the door, causing visitors to have to walk through a dense cloud of smoke in order to enter the building.

    • Exactly. Smoking was a choice you made and is not required to live. Don’t want to freeze during your precious smoke “breaks” every 30 minutes? Here’s a tip: QUIT. And then get back to work.

  2. Tessa Swensen says

    Minnesotans can admit to the same complaints. I was born in Manitowoc and when I return to visit relatives, I like the sense of a smaller population and seeing more wide open space in the summer. But I don’t care for freeway travel at night in either state during the winter! I bet sliding into a ditch in Wisconsin at night would be a more frequent risk for me than when schlepping around the more populated Twin Cities. Oh, also there’s the car washing responsibility if you don’t want your coat to wipe the white dust off the car when you load up and unpack.

  3. Im sure the ladies will relate to this-when youre out there shoveling,one inch diameter flakes pelting youre not so practical(but VERY cute)new jacket& all your make-up is running down your face!! Good thing the -25 temps create that natural”blush”on our cheeks!!

  4. Lack of Sunshine in WI is what made me leave and I won’t be coming back!

    • Well I don’t know where you went, Jennifer – but what the heck are you going to complain about without Wisconsin weather?

    • Tessa Swensen says

      There are ways to cope with the lack of sunshine in MN and WI in the winter unless you’re adamant about having weather that provides sunshine every day. Vitamin D supplements are wise to take during the month most notorious for being cloudy: November. And then just knowing that life in the northern hemisphere means less sunshine daily, as the planet’s orbit brings us to December 21, can help a person cope WHILE imagining the lush spring and summer and colorful fall. But some have a genetic makeup that tells them they belong close to the equator. Happy tanning, Jennifer!

    • I miss Texas says

      I agree 100 percent. As soon as i can im out of here like a fat kid in dodge ball.

      • Tessa Swensen says

        I’m going to give you a playful poke ~ What if the miserably cold, unemployed and others who make up the crime rate in Detroit (at the top of the list for the nation) all decide to pack up and try their luck in Texas? Right now, they have nothing to lose if good friends and relatives in Detroit all get the H out of there and head south together. The world’s axis might shift! The rental market would become as tight as it is heard to be in New York. Maybe you should stop advertising a good thing? Poke, poke, poke 🙂

  5. thats the beauty of moving away Kasey….there is nothing to complain about. Never saw so many miserable human being collected into one spot as when growing up and living in the midwest. Now that I am far far away from that special form of hell where you try to cram 12 months of living into 60-70 days, everyday is wonderful new opportunity to have a nice day and the people around you are as thrilled about it as you are.

    • Yet for some reason – you come to this site to remember what it was like. 🙂

    • Tessa Swensen says

      Carolyn, you’re funny. Winter in the northwest DOES include “that special form of hell where you try to cram 12 months of living into 60-70 days” (1) if you’re a person who isn’t into winter sports, and (2) if your body really seems wired for more arid climates. You have my sympathy for the time you suffered. I feel as if I belong much more south than MN but I want to be near my winter-loving family and friends who love MN, so I have to keep my yap shut and make my nest resistant to “cabin fever” ~ There are 2 big gripes I have about spring’s arrival! ROAD CONSTRUCTION and delighted neighbors take to the streets as if every day is St. Patrick’s Day up until Independence Day. Dang.

    • I miss Texas says

      You are right on target with that post. I miss eleven months of fun in the sun and one month of upper 50s’ lower 60’s. I need to get back to Texas! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Roger D. Hanson says

    I am sure glad I don’t leave in Wisconsin Ha! Ha! Minnesota is a little better.

    • Tessa Swensen says

      Roger . . . that boundary between WI and MN is purely political, even when it comes to the Packers versus the Vikings. My WI cousins call to rub it in whenever the Packers pound the Vikings (I can’t recall getting anyone to answer in WI when the Packers eat it). Anyway, MN and WI relatives or friends, and even strangers, can practice a little sympathy and humor about the weather extremes in the region. Have you heard that research on speech for news reporting revealed (20 years ago!) that we have the most neutral accent in the nation? Maybe the neutral accent should be labelled? The Apathy Accent? That fits with staying where the weather is often unpleasant enough to get some annoyed enough to pack up and head waaaay south.

  7. I would wash my windows if it didn’t freeze up!!!! I haven’t had a clean windshield all winter!!! Ahhhhhhh

  8. My complaint in frigid temps is that my dogs are so happy to get outside to run around that they forget to go potty right away and by the time they remember they’re doing the 3-legged hop trying to keep their feet off the snow long enough to pee!

    And my other complaint is that I have to get used to driving in a different seat position because the extra layers of clothing and winter coats makes the seatbelt not fit the same as it does in the summer!

  9. You call these bad things, I just call them things you have to accept and deal with while enjoying the amazing winters in WI. God, I want to get back so bad!

    • Ouch! Winters sucks. Especially the last one. Must have been 7 months long. Felt like an animal climbing out of a cave. Winter sports suck too.

  10. Oh how i miss Wisconsin winter! I really hate the California sun and miss the fall and winter seasons. I would love to complain again with you all about the snow!

  11. How about heating bills bigger than your mortgage payment? Fingers crossed for a milder one this year!

  12. i want global warming, LOL ! ! ! because i hate winter.

  13. Its amazing how I never see people comment about being sick.
    Every winter, it NEVER fails, I get a f*****g cold!!! At least this winter thus far (because you KNOW its NEVER just ONE cold per winter), it was a chest cold which is, in my opinion, perferable to a head cold. So, whenever summer is ending I always get depressed just for that one reason… I know that winter is coming, and with it, the colds and flus.
    Then, after that, just the cold weather on its own grows EXTREMELY tiresome.
    Overall, not even ONE good thing about winter.

    • It’s true – immune systems seem to go down in winter. Take your Vitamin D! That’s what we’re missing without as much sunshine this time of year. Might help with seasonal affective disorder too.

  14. i hate winter because it’s bitterly cold i live in north carolina the jet stream keeps pulling down bitterly cold air and i hate if anyone up there has well water you have to leave faucet open to keep the water from freezing also power outages freezing snow the 2 things i hate i like summer going naked to be cool when it’s hot and streaking i have done a number of times i like going naked outside running back and forth streaking on a warm summer night and a hot summer day in my backyard when it’s 90 degrees or hotter

  15. I hate winter too! Once I was scared I broke my coccyx when I slipped on my icy driveway. I was standing at the top of the driveway and suddenly whoosh! I slid down the hill like it was one of those slides at the State Fair. Breaking a bone anywhere is painful but I would think breaking your coccyx (butt bone) would be a million times worse! I know they don’t have an iron butt like in “Spongebob Squarepants” but I wouldn’t want to be in traction due to a fall on ice!

  16. I may be coming to Wisconsin to work in a nursing home in hate the snow and ice but I guess I’ll get used to it

  17. It’s funny how everything is so relative. I live in Helsinki, in Finland ( the northest capital in the world) and I have never think that its too cold and dark here. We have couple of hours less sun at the darkest time and a bit colder in general. But we are located almost in the souhest point in Finland, so we feel bad for those who live in North, in Lapland. There you can enjoy almost 3 month of darkness (no sun at all), but on the other hand they have almost 3 month period without sunset, during a summer. That’s good time to visit there 😉 But would be nice to visit Wisconsin, I’m sure it’s nice place to visit in summer, pictures looks amazing! I’m not a winter person either:)

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