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Hoot Recommends: best winter activities

Welcome back to Hoot Recommends: Winter Activites Edition! In this article, members of The Hoot editorial board will be sharing their favorite thing to do when the weather outside is frightful (but the fire is so delightful).

Michael Sun

Building snow forts. It only takes a sufficient level of snow to unlock my inner military engineer. Back in the glorious winter of 2015 (at least in Massachusetts) I spent countless hours building various structures, from walls to tunnels carved through giant mounds of snow plowed from the school parking lot. In fact, the snow doesn’t even have to be wet for me to figure out how to build something. I remember one year, there was a layer of freezing rain over the snow, building up a hard “crust” on the surface. I remember breaking this hard snow-ice mixture into flat chunks, with which I built fortifications that stretched the entire length of my backyard. 

Cooper Gottfried

I really love going out in the snow with my dog, Ollie. He loves jumping around in the snow and eating it too; it’s so much fun to watch him have fun outside. Sometimes I’ll run through the snow and he’ll chase after me, getting his fur covered in it. He’s the best dog in the world, and he loves snow so I do too.

Jenna Lewis

I didn’t grow up in a place where it snowed, so winter is a bit new to me. I’m not really the freeze my butt off outside type, so I like to keep my winter activities pretty tame. My suggestion for those of you who insist on going outside would be to build a classic snowman. Grab a carrot and some grapes from the dining hall, find some brambles in the woods behind North, and you’ve got yourself an authentic Brandeis snowman. You’ll find me, however, tucked under my covers with a hot choclate and a cheesy winter movie like “The Holiday.” Cheers!

Rachel Rosenfield

The outdoors is scary. That is true even when there is not a bunch of snow that makes it hard to walk on the ground. Between the bitter cold and the piles of snow, I will be staying cooped up inside, thank you very much. I always love to have a nice cup of hot cocoa, with extra marshmallows, and maybe a warm chocolate chip cookie to go with it. I can look at the snow from my window, as it is pretty when I don’t have to feel it. Staying tucked inside is certainly better than braving the winter chill, even if it involves doing a “fun” activity. I can also put on a nice winter movie to set the tone inside. Watch “The Holdovers” if you want the wintery vibes without having to actually go outside. Watch “Eddie the Eagle” to see winter sports in action. Watch “The Holiday” to get into the winter holiday spirit, even all of these months later. You can be all toasty and warm in the great indoors with some terrific entertainment. That is better than anything the treacherous outdoors could offer me.

Naomi Stephenson

I may be biased because this is my main hobby, but baking! There is nothing cozier than making a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies on a cold winter day. Or you could be more ambitious, and make a cake or a pie. Or, if you’re me, you’ll take advantage of an indoor day to attempt some ridiculous entremet project. Whatever it is, baking is a wonderful and comforting pastime when it’s cold outside, plus you get dessert at the end of it. My ideal winter day is putting on my favorite podcast, focusing on all that is good in the world, and baking some dessert. 

Lucy Fay

My childhood self, the one who actually lived in a snowy area, would have answered sledding, hands down. I grew up surrounded by fantastic sledding hills and I have countless treasured memories of sledding with my friends and family. Sledding remains basically the only mode of transportation that doesn’t fill me with untenable dread while in the driver’s seat. But I don’t think I have sled down anything in six years and thus my answer has changedit’s gotten pretentious, alongside the rest of my opinions. Now, I just love walkingin the cold, in the snow, sleet, hail, wind, whatever. I love walking all year round but walking around, preferably alone, when the wind makes my cheeks burn or the snow blurs my vision, is the high point of my year. I may not have stolen this opinion from Lorelai Gilmore, but our feelings are paralleled.

Calli Morvay

Having grown up in Massachusetts, I am fortunate to enjoy the winter. There used to be significantly more snowfall, with at least one blizzard a year when I was growing up. Now that the climate here has done away with the blizzards, I am left quite sad that the winters are not what they used to be. However, the northern states like New Hampshire and Vermont still get significant snow which allows for exceptional skiing conditions. I have been a hobby-skier since I was three years old. There is nothing quite like soaring down a mountain on your skis. Especially with great company, skiing is one of my favorite activities. My favorite ski resorts in the Northeast that I have had the privilege of skiing at include Okemo, Loon, and Bretton Woods. They are all phenomenal and I highly recommend you go there if you have the opportunity. 

Lucas Alexander

Without a doubt, building a fire. My home is privileged to have a fireplace—and have it be something we regularly use to heat the house. Every fall, my family buys a huge stack of firewood, and every winter, we burn through as much of it as we can on cold nights. Perhaps this isn’t so much an activity as a vibe, but there is simply nothing quite like huddling up close to a fire while the world outside gleams white in the moonlight through the windows. Doubly so when the house is quiet, after everyone else has gone to bed—it creates a sort of quiet beauty that exists only in that moment, at that time.

Logan Ashkinazy

Sledding is probably in the top 10 human experiences ever. There are few things that scratch the silly little “whoo wee yippee” itch in my brain like getting into a flat receptacle of some kind and just slipping and sliding down a snowy hill over and over again. Honestly, I’m pretty sure the fact that you can sled on campus subconsciously influenced my decision to come to Brandeis. Was it worth it? Hahahahahaha

Abby Roberts

As someone lucky enough to grow up on the East Coast, snow days have been a lifelong favorite. Nowadays, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find me outdoors in such weather. I have fallen prey to the “adult” mindset I swore I never would- that getting all dressed up to go outside and get cold, just to come back in and be sweaty and tired and hot anyways, isn’t worth it. However, this past winter break, I was reminded of why I made that oath to myself to never let go of my childlike wonder of winter and spending time in the snow. It snowed hard enough in Pennsylvania that my little sister and I were able to go out and build a snowman, one of our old winter pastimes when we were younger. We did not build as simple or classic of a snowman as we would have at ages 5 and 11, but us at ages 16 and 22 didn’t do too badly either. As you age, creating more complex and characterized snow people can be a joy. If you’d like to challenge yourself artistically, creating a snowperson with a backstory (or many snowpeople, or even a snow family) is something I’d recommend to anyone with a creative itch and waterproof gloves. And you can be creative in your decor too! This winter, my sister and I experimented with food coloring as our method of giving them facial features, and it did NOT look pretty, but boy, was it hilarious.

Avery Bishop

Snowboarding is my recommendation. I am definitely a board girl; not to say that I am good at any variety of boarding, but if you can convince me of the benefits of leaving a warm, enclosed adobe with WiFi and re-binge-able series for a cold, wet landscape, I will snowboard. I have had the pleasure of living in several places that feature an annual dumping of frozen precipitation, and myself and my younger brother have been shoving each other down slippery elevated planes for as long as he can remember. We have recently graduated from good old fashioned butt-on-plastic gliding to a far more dangerous balancing act. Specifically, we will strap into a simple Nerf training board and slide down our front hill, a roughly 45 second trip, with plenty of bumps and the additional snowy projectile, hurled with a vengeance that can only be achieved by one desperate for retaliation against recent remote control thievery. The thrill from the avoidance of wet, solid spheres creates the excitement that everyone enjoys about snowboarding. So, yes, I recommend snowboarding, a winter sport which, with the right companions, can turn into a death-defying act of icey counterattack-ery. Come to think of it, my favorite activity might actually be snowball fights.

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