8 Signs You’ve Survived a Wisconsin Winter


Some of us love it. Some of us loathe it. However you feel about winter in Wisconsin – one thing is true for everyone…

We all have to survive it!

The sub-zero temperatures, dangerous driving conditions and boatloads of snow are just the big-picture problems. If you’ve learned to make it through Wisconsin winters without losing your mind, these eight signs are sure to sound awfully familiar.

You’ve probably survived a Wisconsin winter….

1. If you’ve seen snowbanks taller than you…

Snowbank Wisconsin Winter

You’ve probably survived winter in Wisconsin if you’ve looked a snowbank directly in the eye.

And I’m not even talking about those huge snow pile mountains in store parking lots. I just mean the ones outside your house. They’re the kind that make it impossible to see when you’re backing out of your driveway – even if you’re driving a Hummer.

You know what I mean. The kind of snowbanks that get so high your snowblower can only throw the snow into the side of it. And if you you shovel, you have to get good at tossing snow over your head. Even then – most of the snow comes tumbling right back down on to the sidewalk.

What’s a Wisconsinite to do?

2. If you’ve ever had a beardsicle…


Beards are back in a big way. So expect to see bits of snow and ice hanging from the facial hair of hardcore lumberjacks, dirty hippies and trendy Sconnie hipsters alike this winter.

Just be aware – beardsicles or snowbeards are responsible for 87% of frostbitten chins in Wisconsin. This affliction impacts men more-often than women, but the female snowbeard is not unheard of.

We could also discuss the frozen snotsicle. But I think the picture above is disgusting enough.

3. If your coat has been covered in that weird white dust…

Dirty-winter-coat What is that stuff anyway? Our best guess is that it is some strange mixture of road salt and grit as well as the dust of evil winter pixies.

Whatever it is…it gets everywhere.

It’s all over your car, and you’re bound to brush up against it when you’re wearing something nice. It covers your shoes, your pant legs, your gloves.

It helps make everything a little bit grayer during Wisconin’s winters – because that’s exactly what we need – more things that are the same color as dirty snow and slush.

4. If your ice scraper ever looked like this…

ice scraperWisconsin  Winter – 1. Your new ice-scraper – 0.

Scraping ice of your windshield and brushing off snow becomes a regular chore during the winter months.

Yet somehow, I always forget. I walk outside in the morning, already late for work, and yell “WHY?”

Usually, the trusty ice-scraper does its job. But those little plastic guys can only take so much, and sometimes they literally crack under pressure. Winter can get the best of you. And winter can get the best of your scraper.

So you try using your library card, an old Hootie and the Blowfish CD you find under the seat, or a spatula from the kitchen.

5. If your mailbox has ever looked like this…

Mailbox Snow

According to the U.S. Postal Service Creed – “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But take it from me – if they have a hard time getting to your mailbox because of snow – they will leave you a note.

Of course, we all know this becomes increasingly difficult as the winter wears on. Many of us are forced to carve out snow caves around our mailboxes so that we can continue getting our enormous utility bills, credit card offers and Valu-Pak coupons.

You’ll no doubt have the same problem finding somewhere to put your garbage and recycling cans. And lets not forget about those shrinking driveways.

6. If you’ve ever done this while shoveling snow…


Courtesy: gslice via Reddit

This crude, but extremely accurate comic captures an experience every man who’s ever shoveled snow off the sidewalk must endure

The snow shovel gets stuck on something – a crack in the cement or a chunk of ice – and the handle goes straight into the family jewels.

This causes you to bellow out in agony and perhaps crumple up on the snowy ground as your neighbors peak out at you from their frosted-over windows.

Laying there in the fetal position, you realize you may never have children, and you vow that next winter you are buying a snowblower.

7. If you’ve ever warmed up by an open stove

open-stove winter

Any source of heat in your home will become a coveted treasure during the frigid days of a Wisconsin winter.

You cook a frozen pizza, then leave the oven door open just to let some of the heat out into your house.

Those of us without fireplaces even crowd around the oven just to remember what warm feels like. You may also find Wisconsinites on the floor huddled next to the furnace vents, waiting for it to kick in again.

8. If you open windows when the temp goes above 32-degrees


March can be the cruelest of all winter months in Wisconsin. March is such a dirty tease.

Snow will be melting, green grass will start growing. You may even see a tulip or two. Then winter comes roaring back and we all cry into our bowls of leftover chicken booyah.

But we never lose that sense of springtime optimism. 35 degrees feels like 65 degrees when you’ve just endured two months during which the average temperature was 12.

So we throw open our windows and let that fresh, almost 40-degree air into our houses. We put on shorts, and yes, maybe even a pair of flip-flops. Winter may not be over quite yet –  but it has to end at some point.

Whether you’re dreading the start of winter in Wisconsin, or you’re stuck in the middle of January and it feels like there’s no end in sight…take heart!

We’ve done this before. We can do this again. We are survivors. Bring it on winter!

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Featured Image: Humbletree via Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Too funny! I understand #6 well even though I’m a woman.

  2. If the seven dwarfs were from Wisconsin they’d be named Snowy, Icy, Windy, Slippery, Freezy, Cloudy and Cold.

  3. Lynne Phillips says

    All of them to some extent. Never had a beardsicle because I’m a chick, but I have had a hairsicle. And frozen hair from walking out with a wet head. Number 6…again, not a dude, so never that kind of pain, but I have gotten rammed in the solar plexus a time or two with the shovel handle. Getting the wind knocked out of you is never fun. I hear you’ve got a storm coming! I’m so jealous! I only get WI winter for a couple weeks around Christmas. Maybe if you’re really luck, it’ll stick around through April. Ah, what I wouldn’t give to be back there…

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