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Brrrraving the Winter Chill

The pretty part of winter

I hope all my readers in the northern states are staying warm(-ish). The coldest I’ve ever been in my life was in Chicago in a long-ago December, when the temperature hovered just below zero. But that’s nothing compared to the negative 56 (before wind chill!) experienced by Cotton, Minnesota yesterday morning. I just…can’t even imagine what that feels like.

But not everyone is averse to cold weather, and this Arctic chill got me thinking about the many cold-destination options available for hardy travelers (or foolhardy, depending on your perspective).

There’s Antarctica, of course (one of my bucket-list items), with a normal mid-winter temperature of -20. Or you can head to the other end of the earth, to Svalbard, Norway: there, in exchange for braving temps right around zero, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Northern Lights.

If you’re one of those crazy folks who like to throw themselves headfirst down a mountain, you could go skiing on Mt. Denali in Alaska, where the winter temps fall below -70. At the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China, 10 degrees will feel downright balmy by comparison, but it’s still plenty cold enough for their massive bridges, slides, and other structures carved out of ice.

Or, to prove your hard-core winter bona fides, you could spend a night at a hotel made entirely out of ice. Seriously. There are several ice hotels around the world now, with the most famous ones in Sweden and Quebec. Your room will be about 25 degrees. They don’t recommend staying more than one night.

I do like winter, though I admit I’m mainly in it for the snow and the hot chocolate (I’m drinking a mug now, in solidarity with the Minnesotans). Sleeping on a bed of ice is a bridge too far for me, but I’d pull on a pair of thermal underwear for the aurora borealis.

For everyone else not enjoying the current polar vortex – don’t despair! There are places in the world right now that are warm. Call your favorite travel agent and ask for a plane ticket to the Equator.

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