An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Eat S'mores, Drink Water And Add Layers: Tips To Socialize Outdoors In The Winter


The first snowflakes have fallen. Temperatures are dipping. And the days of pandemic-friendly park hangouts and outdoor dining feel like they're coming to an end.


Well, unless you live in LA like I do. Sorry, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, rub it in.

CHANG: (Laughter) But even if you don't live in LA, you don't have to stop your outside meetups.

LINDA POON: I live by myself, so I am constantly thinking about how to meet up with friends, how to meet up with my family without putting them or myself in danger. And I am someone who hates the cold.

SHAPIRO: Linda Poon is a CityLab reporter here in Washington, D.C., where the high today is a balmy 46 degrees, Ailsa.

CHANG: (Laughter).

SHAPIRO: Poon says with a little know-how, you can keep socializing outside all year long.

CHANG: A big part of staying warm is retaining the heat you've got.

POON: You want to bring something warm to sit on. We don't want to plant your butt on, like, a cold metal bench.

SHAPIRO: And Poon says, don't feel guilty about scarfing down a few extra calories. They help generate energy to stay toasty.

POON: So you want something that's high in fat and protein. If you want a Snickers bar, this is your chance to eat a Snicker (ph) bar.

CHANG: Now for your winter wardrobe.

CLARE ARENTZEN: Dress like an onion. So it's all about layers.

CHANG: Clare Arentzen is an Appalachian Mountain Club guide in New Hampshire.

ARENTZEN: So it's very snowy, very cold.

CHANG: Paul Sannicandro is a certified Maine guide.

PAUL SANNICANDRO: In northern Maine, you can expect to have ambient air temperatures around 20 below for the first two weeks in January.

SHAPIRO: Sannicandro's layering pro tip is to avoid cotton for that first layer. It loses its insulating properties when you sweat.

SANNICANDRO: People are putting themselves in a disservice by wearing such garments.

CHANG: Instead, go for wool or synthetic fabric to wick away moisture. Dress right, Arentzen says, and winter can actually be magical.

ARENTZEN: Winter is one of those seasons where it's kind of intimidating. But this is the perfect winter to try something new.

BENTE LIER: In Norway, we have a saying. (Non-English language spoken). There is no such thing as a bad weather. It's only if you have bad clothes.

SHAPIRO: Bente Lier runs the outdoor group Norsk Friluftsliv. It means free outdoor life.

LIER: Friluftsliv is a very long tradition in Norway. The snow is something that we always welcome when it comes. Norwegians, we are born with skis on our feet.

CHANG: So when restaurants recently shut down in Oslo, Lier didn't cancel plans with a friend.

LIER: We lit the bonfire, and then we made food out in the open air. And that made it probably even more cozy than the original plan.

SHAPIRO: In Norway, embracing winter is a way of life. In Edmonton, Canada, they're working on it. In 2012, city planners launched an effort to reinvent how people think about winter.

BEN HENDERSON: We realized all of our favorite memories as kids were winter memories. They weren't summer memories. And somehow as adults we lose that, especially when we hibernate away from it.

CHANG: City Councilman Ben Henderson is with Edmonton's Winter City initiative. The city now invests in making winter just as vibrant as summer. They keep playgrounds open, plow trails and sponsor activities.

HENDERSON: We need to look at winter in a different kind of way and not try to hide from it, but take joy in it.

SHAPIRO: And with a long winter ahead, we could all use a little extra joy.

(SOUNDBITE OF CITY OF THE SUN'S "I'M WITH POLLY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.