Incidental Amusements

We now find ourselves on the brink of winter, staring down finals week and starting to catch the beginnings of a holiday spirit (or perhaps a cold). Though snowfall and Scantrons are impending, we get to look forward to all the awesome activities that come with December.

Sledding is a classic, but every year you realize that you don't quite have the energy to run up a hill all day like could when you were younger. I'm also pretty sure that everyone knows at least one person who has ended up in a cast as a result of sliding into something.

Sledding is a good time, but it's got nothing on sleddin'. For anyone unused to outdoor motor sports, sleddin' is slang for snowmobiling, and your knowledge of sleddin' is directly proportional to how far north you live. My hat is off to whoever first thought up snowmobiling, and I can only guess that it involved quite a stroke of genius to put a high powered engine onto a pair of skis and a tank tread.

I wonder how long people lived around mountains before someone decided, "Hey, why not strap long pieces of wood to our feet and try to slide down these things," so I checked it out on Wikipedia. Apparently snowmobiles were originally developed for hunting in Norway around 3000 B.C., and were promptly used to entice people to pay large sums of money for houses on mountains known as "condos" in Norse mythology.

The best part about skiing and snowboarding is that you get carried to the top of hill on what's basically a folding sofa suspended from a wire. It's important to understand the difference between skiing and snowboarding: Skiers typically race down the hill in funny jumpsuits. Snowboarders usually sit on the top of terrain parks in baggy clothing and exchange slang terms and snowboard tricks.

It's thanks to skiing and snowboarding that poutine came to exist. Poutine consists of French fries drenched with cheese and gravy that give you enough fuel to keep you warm and enough cholesterol to chill out your turns as you shred the mountain. Poutine is most definitely a Canadian invention, and it's the best way to warm up frozen skiers after they race back to the lodge.

As great as outdoor activities are, by the end of the day we're all pretty ready to return to the warmer temperatures offered by the ski lodge or our homes, most likely expecting hot chocolate and a warm meal in exchange for being so productive on a wintry day.