Photo of a car's tracks in the snow bordered by snow-covered trees for an article about the vices and virtues of snow.

The Vices and Virtues of Snow

Although winter weather promises sledding and hot chocolate for kids, it can simultaneously bring a lot of worries to adults.
January 10, 2022
10 mins read

January has arrived, and so far, most places have yet to see that beautiful, fluffy white stuff called snow. Many people will attest to enjoying the stuff; kids, for instance, love it, as sledding down huge hills, building snowmen and, of course, days off from school are hard to dislike. On the other hand, there are others who simply hate it. It’s wet and cold, and they would love nothing more than to do away with the junk altogether.

Snow: A Winter Wonderland

The thing about snow is that it invokes a feeling deep within several of us — a feeling of peace. Looking out your window and gazing upon a winter wonderland scene gives a sense of calmness and belonging. Everything covered in white, nothing zipping by fast and crazy. A fireplace makes it even better; nothing beats a warm fire in a cozy house while snow slowly falls outside.

Before the era of Zoom classes, kids would go crazy in hopes of school getting canceled for the day — they would love to wake up early in the chilly winter months to check the television for wishes of good news. If they were able to have a snow day, children from the neighborhood would all gather outside, bundled from head to toe, to play together. The kids would begin their day by rolling up snowballs to throw at one another before gathering freshly fallen snow to build snowmen and laying down to make snow angels. Once they all went back inside, it was time for hot cocoa, warm soup and rest.

Snow days are the perfect excuse to stay in and be lazy, doing nothing but reading or binge-watching television. For some, these days mean getting a break from life to simply enjoy the snow flurries outside from the comfort of their toasty homes.

Snow: A Frigid Nightmare

However, let’s talk about the issues people have with snow, as well. For a lot of people — mostly adults — it brings havoc to town. Winter coldness can be a major dislikable factor for many. Additionally, snow creates a false sense of peacefulness that tends to end after less than 24 hours. Dirt and mud can be dragged into the snow by plows, which makes a yucky, brown and watery mess.

1. Snow Delays

Snow is an unpredictable thing. The meteorologist may call for just an inch or two, yet you wake up to a blizzard and must find a way to work. Then, the kids have a day off, but you still have work, which means that you now need to find a babysitter. Talk about a stressful morning. Also, as soon as people hear the word “snow,” everyone runs to the grocery store. For what? Well, the eggs, milk and bread, of course. So, there you are, trying to get a gallon of milk for cereal, and the shelves are bare.

2. Snow Damage

Another annoying trouble is that the roads get into bad shape, slippery and slick. Driving, especially on icy and narrow roads, can be hazardous and stressful. Snow and ice related accidents are responsible for more than 1,800 deaths and over 136,300 injuries every year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Just a slight buildup of snow on the roads can cause numerous accidents.

Another trouble is the destruction of property. The weight of snow on your roof can cause it to collapse, especially if it already needs to be replaced. Wet snow is, surprisingly, very heavy. It can also cause roofs, doors and windows to leak, which then raises your heating bill. Who wants to double their heating bill just to stay warm? And once it begins to melt, it can damage your gutters and provide dangerous runoffs of slush.

3. Costs and Sicknesses

Snow can also make people go stir crazy when it lasts for more than a day or so. Many may start to feel depressed after being stuck in the house if they are not homebodies. Additionally, it ruins plans with friends and family; once that storm hits, you usually have to cancel everything and anything you had scheduled. Then, when you do go out, how many times have you lost a glove, scarf or hat? You just left it somewhere, never to be seen again. I am sure the majority of us know this feeling.

Snow can make your nose a never-ending source of running fluids, and carrying tissues everywhere is not fun. The cold turns your ears and nose red, making you look like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which isn’t exactly a good look if you are trying to impress somebody.

It can also be uncomfortable to walk in. In order to go out, most people put on a coat, hat, gloves, boots, etc. — layers upon layers of clothes to keep warm, just to end up sweating within minutes. It’s a Catch-22, I tell ya: Freeze your buns off or sweat to death in layers of clothing.

Let’s not forget the obvious, either: Snow is cold and wet. It seems that no matter what you do, you end up with wet feet or soaking gloves, and who wants to be damp in 20-degree weather? Not me, that’s for sure. This leads to another cause for complaint about snow: laundry. You will have to do loads and loads of extra laundry just to dry everything that’s wet or wash everything that you sweated in, which also runs up your water bill. Ugh.

Snow can wreak havoc on your skin. Because of the cold, the heat gets turned up, which means that our skin gets dry. When your skin is dry, it gets rougher, gets caught on things and cracks. Cracked skin bleeds and burns, so you must make sure to hydrate your skin more so you do not end up damaging your skin.

The snow, while beautiful, can also cause snowdrifts that can range from inches to feet deep and cover doors, windows, cars and buildings. Snowdrifts block road signs and also bury houses.

4. Major Illnesses and Injuries

It may not seem that dangerous, but the act of shoveling snow is responsible for many deaths. You can put major strain on your heart if you have been inactive for months and must suddenly shovel. Snow can get really heavy, which can cause a heart attack. Also, the wintry weather increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Blood clots occur more easily because of this by constricting your arteries, which then decreases the blood supply to your body.

Some basic rules to follow while you shovel: avoid smoking and eating, take it slow, stretch beforehand, only shovel the fresh stuff since it weighs less, push rather than lift the snow, lift with your legs instead of your back and do not work beyond the point of exhaustion. Also, take breaks, if necessary; you are not Superman, and not taking breaks could cost you your life.

So, while it can be pretty to look at and make you feel all snug and peaceful internally, it can also cause considerable damage to houses, cars and people. Snow can be lots of fun, but always remember to be careful. And, well, if you don’t like snow, I think most of us can see why.

Angelica Rovinski, Arcadia University

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Angelica Rovinski

Arcadia University
English with a concentration in Creative Writing

I am a single mother of three girls. I enjoy reading, writing, bowling, camping and spending time with my family. My kids come first. I made the Dean’s List last semester.

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