Yes, it's cold here in the winter—but far from being a frozen tundra year-round, Minnesota has four distinct seasons. We enjoy beautiful springs with blossoming trees and early flowers, warm summers to appreciate our 10,000 lakes, and beautiful autumns ablaze with color. As for winter? It's mostly a matter of dressing right and being prepared for the extremes. With appropriate clothing and gear, you can be as active outdoors as you want to (although if you'd rather hibernate, that's OK too).
Here's a sampler of favorite things to do at Carleton year-round:
- Student Activities Fair, your opportunity to get acquainted with—and join—a dizzying array of student groups.
- Apple picking at nearby Fireside Orchard.
- Northfield's Defeat of Jesse James Days, which celebrates our little town's victory over the notorious James-Younger Gang, back in 1876.
- Homecoming, which includes a whole menu of special events along with the traditional football game.
- Walking, running, and biking in The Arb and on scenic country roads.
- Broomball, arguably Carleton's favorite winter sport. Sure, it sounds silly: Hockey played with no skates and no puck?? But you'll have fun and work up a sweat, even on the coldest days.
- Ice skating on the Bald Spot, if you can get those broomball players to give up some rink space.
- Traying, a version of sledding that, while not officially approved (since it requires sneaking trays out of the dining hall), seems to keep on happening at Carleton anyway. Or you could take pity on our food-service staff and just get yourself a sled.
- Midwinter Ball with its myriad of indoor and outdoor activities, including ice sculpting and dancing the night away.
- Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Carleton's 880-acre arboretum.
- Spring Concert,an annual outdoor music festival that's been a Carleton tradition for more than 30 years. What's better than warm weather and hot bands?
- Mai Fete, a weekly gathering of seniors on scenic Mai Fete island.
- Rotblatt, the world's longest softball game. A Carleton tradition since 1964.
- International Festival, with food, songs, performances and cultural workshops representing many nations.
- Outdoor movies on the Bald Spot.
- Carleton students are on break for the summer, but it's still a beautiful season to visit campus, on your own or as part of Minnesota Private College Week.
- Expand your visit into a family vacation with the help of Explore Minnesota, a great site for discovering our state's lakes, rivers, parks, and attractions.
- Consider one of Carleton's summer programs for high school students, which combine college-level educational experiences with the chance to enjoy campus in all its summer glory.
Anna Chance '15 says:Freshman year in Watson, I received a package in the mail that had a lot of packing peanuts in it. I put it into recycling, but then—I walk out into the lounge and I find that my packing peanuts have been converted into SAND for a makeshift BEACH! There were towels scattered on the floor for "sunbathing" and residents had set up a small makeshift volleyball net. All players were wearing some form of swim gear and the 'volleyball' was a stuffed pineapple. There was even an "ocean" that people could dip their feet into, and cut-out pictures of waves taped to the windows! I suppose this just goes to show that Carls are pretty creative, spontaneous, fun-loving, and..a a little quirky. A Minnesota winter is not going to stop us from having a beach party!
Emily Balczewski '16 says:Winter isn't that bad! Coming from California, I bought the largest, puffiest, warmest coat I could find and it wasn't necessary. It's important to try to stay healthy, positive, and active during the overcast months: if you do, winter is a (slightly nippy, but completely bearable) breeze!