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Polar Vortex! What's it like where you are?

Hello community!

Here in the south Puget Sound my kids are all kinds of wound up about the SNOW we woke up to today! Given that our almost the entire US is experiencing the cold right now, I was hoping you'd share an update of what the weather is like where you are, what you're doing to get outside in the snow or cold, and some pics of your snow, thermometers, or winter adventures!

Who has the most snow? Coldest temperatures?

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
19 Replies

Here’s a video of Apollo’s mind being blown by his first real snow experience and Hadley’s complete lack of being impressed by anything ever. I would guess we got over seven inches of snow (which is a lot for the Seattle area)!

‘It’s too hot here.’ - Hadley, my Alaskan sled dog, probably. 




At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Today isn't too bad (high of 10) but I say that relative to tomorrow's forecast of a high of 4 degrees. I was going to go hiking this morning but when I woke up, I said those fateful words "Alexa, what's the temperature?" When she/it replied that it was 1 degree... Well, I decided today would be a good grocery shopping day.

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Hi @REI-JohnJ !

Here in Maryland we get a very mixed bag of winter weather.  Last year I think we had less than an inch of snow all year, but this year seems to be making up for it.  Central Maryland is bisected by Interstate 95, which somehow magically tends to be the dividing line for weather systems.  Where I am located, I have had about 18 inches of snow cumulatively from 3 storms over that past couple weeks, but only about 20 miles south of me, on the other side of I95, it has been all rain.  I still have about 8" of snow remaining on the ground.  

Our temperatures have been running from lows around 20F to highs in the mid-30s, with a couple spikes to nearly 50F.  Right now we are beset with what we call "mixed mess".  Snow/sleet/freezing rain; and there is a glaze of ice over everything.  I had to wear my new Kahtoola Exospikes just to walk out the back door taking my dog, Leon out for his walk.

They are calling for this same pattern to continue through next weekend.

I love hiking in the snow, when it's snow, but the trails are a mess right now with mud, slush and ice, so I likely won't be doing any extended trips.  Maybe just a long walk on one of the rail-trails.

My daughter and her boyfriend have recently started bouldering at a nearby climbing gym.  That has piqued my interest and I may have to try that out while the outside weather is so nasty.


Being from the interior of Washington state, one of the things that blew my mind when I was living in Boston (and exposed to the east coast extreme melt-freeze cycle brought on by the close proximity to the ocean) was the super-think ice crust on top of deep powdery snow. I had moments where I felt like Legolas from LOTR walking on top of deep snow and then suddenly I'd break through and be up to my knees. It definitely made it hard to be motivated to walk anywhere other than well defined trails!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

You hit the nail on the head!  And, unfortunately, because of the wide variance in weather around here, it's not really feasible to invest in snowshoes or X-country skis.  In fact, I don't even think my local REI keeps snowshoes in stock.  I do, however, have a snowblower, which has gotten a workout this year.

Well, we were gonna go skiing tomorrow but all the local hills are closing down because its going to be a high of -6°F and windchill is going to be -30°F or worse! (The skiing could probably be fine if layered up, but they stop running the lifts for the worst case scenario of it breaking down and guests are stranded high up waiting to get rescued. Plus limited indoor capacity restrictions for COVID for warming up between runs.) I did at least get a couple fat bikes in earlier in the week when it was 5°F (-5 to -10 chill or so). Not much new snow for a while, but the drifting has packed it in kind of nasty in open areas, bit of a hike-a-bike at times.


Do you all have trails that open up on top of frozen waterways in the winter? That is one of the things I'm struggling to adjust to after moving out of Alaska. The creeks, ponds, streams, and lakes here aren't freezing over and able to be ridden!

I loved the photo of your fat tire bike with the seat for your kiddo. Do you get some rides in with them in the snow?

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJ nothing so official as to be called a trail, but absolutely the lakes freeze over and are great fun to ride with studs in. I've seen some use the bike to haul their ice fishing sleds out. This year was particularly special because we had a stretch of calm, windless and snowless cold to start the season which made for some black crystal clear initial ice that you could see right down into! Creeks and streams can be a maybe because of the moving water, it's not often cold enough for them to freeze solid so conditions are ever changing and it's a bit more of a risk, but people do it. Northern MN maybe a bit more common than down south here in the cities.

And yes, she has definitely come on rides with me, though only a few so far. It's a challenge to keep her warm when she's passively sitting and not doing any of the work, especially the hands (and her face since she's not totally comfortable with goggles and face coverings, and we JUST got her to accept the ski helmet with its extra bulk and ear coverage compared to her bike helmet). But these lovely Alaskan-made beauties arrived in the mail yesterday so I'm excited to give those a whirl on a little more of a balmy day! Weather might be too warm even, could be seeing 40s with some melting slushiness... gotta love midcontinental climate temperature swings of 50-60° in just a few days!


Here in Illinois my phone reads -8 the sun did try to come out but didn't make it.

my guess is about 10 to 12 inches of snow on the ground, looks pretty out the window not much fun once you get out the door.

stay warm and safe.......