Wintry weather tutorials from a Louisiana expat—just in case Baton Rouge gets another snow day

Greetings from sunny Colorado!

That’s the line that gets tossed around a lot out here, in northern Colorado tucked into the foothills of the Rockies. Though, as I’ve learned since moving here from Baton Rouge this past summer, “snowy Colorado” is often just as apt.

It’s late November now, and we’ve had a few “good” snows. As a native Louisianan, I’ve learned some things. The first is what constitutes a “good” snow: big flakes, and dry ones, the kind you can’t hear smacking wetly into the pavement when it hits. A dry, powdery snow sticks instead of melting away by midday. It piles and piles up, waiting to suck one of your boots in when you’re taking your dog out.

Back home, any kind of snow was a good snow.

Where I am now, the entire city does not, in fact, have to shut down when it snows. One morning after a heavy snow, I was shocked to discover my traditional Sunday bagel place was open. A layer of ice on the road would have Baton Rouge in full Purge territory, but in much of the rest of the country? Life just … goes on.

A few snows in, though, I haven’t yet been able to shake that Baton Rouge mentality that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime miracle. I still feel that tug in my heart to build snowmen and sled in the park by my house.

Everyone here has assured me that I’ll get used to it—sick of it, even. Maybe so. But I have a feeling that snow will always feel to me, even a little bit, like magic.

Are you prepared if snow comes to Baton Rouge again? Do you know what to have on hand—or how to improvise if you don’t have it? In case of emergency Louisiana snow flurries, break glass.

1. Wear water- resistant boots.
You may think you should step into your warmest sheepskin boots, but resistance to water is actually more important than insulation. If you don’t have snow or hiking boots, rain boots work great. Just layer thick socks underneath.

2. Be careful about defrosting your windshield.
The best tool for this is the typical ice scraper found on Amazon. But if you don’t have one, pour tepid water to melt the ice then whisk the slush away with your wipers. Tepid is the key word here, not hot. Hot water could crack your windshield.

3. Wet snowballs are best.
Snow adheres to itself better when some moisture is involved, so look for patches where snow may be slightly melting or a little warmer to get a good snowball started. Let it sit when it’s done, too—it’ll marry with the heat from your hands and become more solid.

4. Roll, don’t pack, your snowman.
The body of a perfect snowman starts with a snowball-fight-sized snowball. Roll it around in the snow to pick up more mass—much easier and much faster than trying to pack snow together by hand.

5. Improvise a sled.
If there’s enough snow to slide on but you don’t have a sled (Who does?), some of the best makeshift alternatives are cardboard boxes, cookie sheets, boogie boards, pool floats and plastic container lids.

This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.