This article was published in The Appalachian.

By now, most Appalachian State University students have probably forgotten what grass, leaves, and sidewalks look like.

Ray Russell, of Ray’s Weather Center, has predicted a snow total of 32 inches for Boone, according to

Anyone brave enough to stick around, will likely grow accustomed to snow, ice and wind as the season kicks into high gear.

Since students come to Appalachian from all over the world – not to mention other parts of North Carolina, which don’t quite resemble the Arctic tundra of Boone – severe winter weather can take some getting used to.One of the first things to tackle as you prepare for the snow season is your winter wardrobe.

“Get a warm jacket and invest in some good boots,” said Mattie L. Hardin, junior management and entrepreneurship major. “I had to buy both of those for the first time and both have lasted…and helped me to stay warm and keep my balance.”

Other students suggest buying a good pair of rain boots.

“[They] work just as well as snow boots,” said Felicia D. Tickle, junior elementary education major.
Many students choose to stock up on other items as well, including hats, ear warmers, waterproof gloves and traction systems like Yak Traks. Many of these items can be found at local shops, including Footsloggers on Depot Street and Mast General Store on King Street.

If your snow day travels take you out on the road, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped. Four-wheel drive always helps, and students in more remote locations may need chains or snow tires, said Kevin Whittington, Watauga County maintenance engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation, said. It is also important to allow ample time to reach your destination, he said. You’ll need it to clean off your car thoroughly and be cautious on the road.

“That makes it so much better for the person in the car and everyone else on the road,” Whittington said.
When the snow really pours down and classes are canceled, some students choose to stay inside – or at least in the vicinity of their dorm, apartment or house.

Tickle suggests curling up in bed with a cup of hot tea and a good book. Junior journalism major, Brittany N. Noll likes to catch up on television, class assignments and sleep. Other students like to brave the cold and get out in the snow.

“Being from Florida, I had to learn how to make a snow man, igloo and snow cream,” Hardin said. “But now that I have learned, it’s become tradition when school is canceled.”

If you’re feeling really adventurous, Boone – home of waterfall jumping and river tubing – offers a whole new list of outdoor activities when the snow starts to fall. Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating are always an option because of Appalachian’s proximity to Beech Mountain Resort, Sugar Mountain Resort, and Appalachian Ski Mountain.

The High Country offers other snow-friendly outdoor activities as well, said Andrew Miller, Outdoor Programs’ coordinator for land-based programs. Students can snowshoe in “any place with undisturbed snow,” such as the Boone Greenway, Appalachian’s campus, and areas with high snow totals like Roan Mountain and the Virginia Highlands. Cross-country skiing has become an option, too, as Boone’s winters have intensified.

“Around here for a number of years, it was hard to do,” Miller said. “…The last couple of years, it’s been great.”

Students can also experiment with building igloos and other snow shelters.

“Get some water on it to help it solidify,” Miller said. “If you get a few people inside, you can increase the temperature by 20 to 30 degrees.”

Throughout the season, it helps to keep your sense of humor and realize that you will probably fall at least once.

“On long descents,” Lowe said, “take a running start and slide.”

And above all, it helps to be positive.

“My best advice would be to try your hardest to enjoy the snow,” sophomore English major, Jessica E. j. Paratore, said. “If that means running out to …go sledding, then do that. If you would enjoy it most by curling up with a cup of cocoa and watching a movie, then that is the way to go. If you don’t find a way to like the snow, chances are you’re going to end up hating it – and the snow will be around for quite a while. You might as well make something good out of it since it’s here.”