When my children were young being raised in South Florida, I wanted them to experience the winter weather that I had grown up with in New Jersey. I decided to take them on a ski trip in the middle of January to a resort north of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains.
Our first taste of the extreme cold was when the automatic doors opened to the outside where our rental car was waiting. That first gust of Arctic air hit us hard and it was difficult for us to breathe.
As we traveled further north to Saint-Sauveur, it became more and more difficult for the car to remain warm. Thankfully, the hotel was sufficiently heated. Our first experience later that day was walking to a restaurant one block away in -20 ° F (-30° C). It was painful especially for one daughter whose asthma was triggered by the extreme cold. No amount of layering of clothes was enough to keep them warm.
The next day, when we drove to the nearby ski resort, the temperature was a windy -30°F (-35° C). It was so cold that the signs outside warned that the snow-making equipment was not working because of the low temperature. Luckily there was sufficient ground cover on the novice slopes so that my daughters were still able to take their first ski lessons. I decided to remain indoors because I wasn’t interested in exposing myself to the frigid temperatures.
My daughters adjusted quickly to the cold and actually enjoyed the new foreign experience, but after a few days of this new sport, decided that their bodies were not really suited for the extreme cold. They learned how to make snow angels and a snow man, but quickly became tired of having to wear layer upon layer of warm clothes just to go to dinner.
Upon returning to South Florida, their most memorable moment for the girls was when we left the airport terminal to enter the parking garage. As the automatic doors opened, the gust of warm, humid air was enough to convince them that they were truly happy to be living in Florida. I made a promise then to my wife that there would never be any reason to leave our tropical paradise during the winter months.
Forty years later, my decision has remained strong and without regrets. As we say in Florida, “our blood has thinned”. When the temperature dips below 55°, it feels cold to me and I’m glad to be living in the South Florida tropics.
If I never see snow again, that will be just fine with me. On the occasional day that it goes down to the 40s or 50s (5-10° C), I dress up with my warmest clothes from the past and complain along with the Florida natives how cold it is.