moeview is aaron molina via flickr

Hearty Northlanders start getting ready for winter just about the time the kids go back to school – even earlier if they’re “lifers”. It's safe to say that we're due for a substantial snowfall any time after Labor Day. Here are the Top 5 Things To Do To Prepare For A Northland Winter (or ANY area’s winter-season for that matter). In no particular order:


identity chris is via flickr


Sounds simple. But too many homeowners overlook some easy things they could do when there’s no snow on the ground, that are more difficult after the flakes fly and the temperature drops. Things like Cleaning your gutters – so you’re ready for the spring melt. Weather-striping / caulking / and insulating holes and gaps – where the cold air or animals could get in. Putting away water hoses and draining your outdoor faucets. Checking fire alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors. Cleaning and servicing your furnace or boiler. And by all means – drain your pool if you have one. The Duluth-Superior has many neighborhood hardware stores as well as some of the "Big Box" stores that can help with all the supplies you need.
What would happen to you if you got stranded on a deserted road in the middle of a January night? With an emergency kit, you would be better-prepared to survive until you could get help. Whether you choose a simple box or a coffee can, throw together some “necessities” and put them in the trunk. Good things to include would be things like blankets and non-perishable foods, flashlights and batteries, a radio, shovel, extra hats and gloves, toilet paper (need I explain?), and a compass. Magazines and books would also be handy.
ac4lt via flickr


Cold temperatures and slippery roads are hard on any vehicle – old or new. Your vehicle is your lifeline - especially in non-metro areas. Take some time now to make sure it's ready to handle anything Mother Nature throws our way. Check the pressure levels in your tires. Make sure that your radiator is filled with a water and anti-freeze mixture that will handle the low temperatures that we get. Check the battery; These tend to fail as the temperature drops and Murphy’s Law says it’ll happen at 10PM at the empty parking lot of the mall. Make sure that your exhaust system is operating as it should and that there are no leaks; You’ll spend a lot of time with the windows rolled up this winter and exhaust fumes in your vehicle could be deadly. Make sure your engine’s thermostat is working correctly – so that your car won’t overheat and that you’ll have plenty of warmth in your climate control settings. Maintain your oil levels. And, if your car or truck has an engine block heater, inspect the power cord and make sure it’s easily accessible.
theloushe via flickr


The winter season demands different clothing than you would wear the rest of the year. Make sure you have plenty of hats and gloves to get you through the cold temperatures. Extra’s are good because (a) they’ll get wet and you’ll need another set to wear while they dry and (b) you’ll lose them. It’s also a good plan to buy thermal underwear and extra-thick socks that can wick moisture away and keep warmth in. Boots are a must. And would you really go outside without a jacket or coat?
familymwr via flickr


Let’s face it – winter is a long season. You can either embrace the snow and have some fun – or – be depressed all season long. Why not try snowmobiling. Skiing; Between Spirit Mountain and Mont-Du-Lac - or even Giant's Ridge, the Duluth-Superior area has many downhill and cross-country skiing options to choose from. You could also go skating. Or – If the outdoors aren’t your style, what about an indoor hobby like crafts of stamp/coin collecting. Those long, cold winter months are also a GREAT time to tackle indoor home improvement projects.

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