A travel website has ranked Minnesota winters as the worst in the country, and on weeks like this when the state is gripped in a deep freeze it’s hard to disagree.
In conferring the dubious honor, writer Kevin Alexander and editor Matt Lynch at www.thrillist.com had plenty of ammunition to work with. They blasted the state for its below-zero temperatures and bone-chilling windchills that can deliver frostbite in a matter of minutes. The writers also chided the state for its copious snow falls and even had the audacity to dis ice fishing. And just to rub it in, they pointed out the abysmal performances of our sports teams.
“We think that — despite all appearances — Minnesota does in fact have the most miserable winter in the United States,” the writers for the website that focuses on food, drink and travel said. “To think of the generally cheerful brood of Nordic-bred people being the winners in any sort of a contest of misery seems downright crazy. But for all those adorable don’tcha knows, we think something else is going on. We think beneath that eternal Nordic happiness is some inner pain, trapped below the surface like a Grain Belt dropped into an ice fishing hole, a cauldron of hot anger ready to spill out like a cut-open Jucy Lucy.”
Ranking right behind Minnesota on the survey of places with harsh winters were Michigan, Alaska, North Dakota and Maine. Neighbors South Dakota checked in at No. 6, Wisconsin at No. 7 and Iowa at No. 11. On the other end of the scale, Hawaii was rated as having the best winters, edging out Arizona and California for that honor.
The low ranking was a slap in the face for winter-lovers and to a state that usually is near the top on lists rating the quality of life. Minnesota is normally near the top on lists ranking topics such as health, charitable giving, outdoor recreation and economy. Just this year the state was ranked No. 1 for child well-being, No. 2 on USA Today’s best run states and No. 6 in a recent round of grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
And here’s another feather in our cap. The New York Times listed Minneapolis as one of its 52 places to go in 2017, joining a list of some very exotic destinations.
Thrillest.com used a number of criteria to put together their highly unscientific list, including average temperatures, the effectiveness and efficiency of departments of transportation to clear highways, interviews with locals and the historical success rates of their winter-season sports teams.
Minnesota State Climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld didn’t put a whole lot of stock in the ranking.
“We have a culture that embraces winter more than any state out there,” he said. “Winter is part of our identity, and while we have a reputation for severe winters, we don’t get a lot of those any more. It used to be that minus 50-degree windchills were the hallmark of a cold winter, and we’ve not had that since 2005. If anything, winters embolden us. So let’s take the bragging rights. We should not feel bad for it.”
As for the current round of cold and windchills as low as -30 degrees, that will last through the weekend, the National Weather Service said. Highs will be in the single digits through Sunday, then rise into the 20s to low 30s by Monday and Tuesday.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768