Walkin’ in a winter wonderland

Jenna Staul

Regardless of low temperatures and mounds of snow, some find thrills in Northeast Ohio winter

Leah Miller, senior justice studies major, fits the bindings on her snowboard before going down Blanket Hill.

Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Though many parka-clad students can be heard grumbling about the frigid forecast as they trudge to class through slush and unplowed sidewalks, others are giving the chilly winter wonderland a very warm reception.

It may seem surprising, but it’s true: not everyone hates winter.

“It’s Ohio. I mean, I think everyone in Ohio to some degree has to like the snow,” said Brian Slutz, a junior flight technology major. “I definitely don’t complain about it. I mean, everybody loves missing school.”

Kent State students, given a day and a half off from school Feb. 13 and 14 were not the only ones benefiting from excessive snowfall. Mitch Barkman, owner of Buckeye Sweeping Inc. in Akron, was relieved when he saw the first flakes falling several weeks ago.

“A bad winter for most people is a good winter for us,” Barkman said of his business that offers snow plowing as one of its primary services. “Snow plowing makes up nearly one-third of our revenue. Things have been terrible since last month.”

The Brandywine Boston Mills Ski resort in Peninsula, Ohio, is also flourishing in the wake of recent blizzard-like conditions. The resorts have seen an increased number of skiers on the slopes taking advantage of the snow.

“We rely more on snow-making for the slopes. But the weather benefits us in that when people see snow in their backyards they start thinking of ways to go out and have fun it,” said Kim Laubenthal, head of marketing for the Brandywine Boston Mills resorts.

Even when the temperature dips lower than even the most dedicated skier can tolerate, some find winter to be a prime time to catch up on activities indoors.

“I like how it (winter) keeps people indoors and keeps people coming up with creative ways to entertain themselves. It brings people together,” sophomore communications major Allison Cappel said. “I think it makes me spend more time with my friends.”

Michael Moore, assistant director of Kent State’s Psychological Clinic, said while winter depression is a common affliction, a sense of winter euphoria overcomes some as well.

“Most people associate the winter with cold weather and a lack of sunlight and other negative things, and while that’s true on the average, there are individual exceptions,” Moore said. “For instance, someone from a family that really celebrates Christmas may have positive associations with the season.”

For students like Tyler Swilley, freshman pre-dentistry major, the best way to overcome an aversion to the wintry weather is to merely appreciate the simpler things that go along with the season.

“It’s fun to play in,” Swilley said.

“I look forward to the snowball fights.”

Contact features correspondent Jenna Staul at [email protected].