Winter can be a foreign concept to many new Gonzaga students. It’s a lot to take in that’s for sure and there is a real learning curve to figuring out how to live with it. But have no fear as someone who has lived in Eastern Washington my whole life, I’m here to help you survive this upcoming Spokane winter.

Invest in a coat and boots

The key word here is invest. It’s worth it to spend a little extra money on a well-insulated jacket and a good pair of snow boots. For day-to-day campus life I recommend a parka that covers your butt (it sounds extra but trust me it’s a game changer). As for boots invest in a good insulated but not clunky pair so you can keep your toes warm but not stomp around campus in ugly boots.

While it may hurt your wallet a little bit these two things will last you all four years and you will not regret the purchase when your feet aren’t wet, and your upper half isn’t freezing to death.

Carry spares

I keep a light pair of gloves in every single one of my coats. Having light gloves helps on those days when you have to carry a box back home from the mailroom and you don’t want your fingers to feel like they’re going to fall off. Also, keep a beanie in your backpack just in case you walk outside and it starts snowing that way you don’t get soaked and your ears stay warm.

Get a snow scraper

I don’t want to see anyone out wiping the snow off their cars with last week’s issue of The Gonzaga Bulletin. It’s disgraceful and embarrassing to you and The Bulletin. So, do yourself and this paper a favor and get a snow scraper. It’s arguably the most useful tool you can get in the winter and it only costs $10-$15. With a brush to get the snow off on one side and a scraper on the other to get the ice off it’s a true lifesaver.

Know the tires you need

Preparing your car begins with the tires. Personally, I need full on snow tires since there is more snow when I go home at Christmas than there is in Spokane. If you have plans to travel in the winter or want to be super safe get snow tires. All season tires will suffice too. If you don’t plan on going off the city streets or your car has four wheel drive all season works.

Emergency preparedness is key

My parents taught me that you need to be prepared if your car gets stuck or breaks down. It’s important to have an emergency kit that has jumper cables, chains and a scraper as well as basic winter clothes like gloves, a hat, a coat and a blanket. That way you can hopefully stay warm and get your car safely back on the road.

Know the plow schedule and be ready to shovel

Living in a house comes with many new adulting tasks and that includes shoveling and knowing the city plow schedule. The city of Spokane has its plow strategy down pat so get out of their way when they come, or you’ll be sorry. Avoid having to shovel your car because it got plowed in park on the side of the street where the addresses end in odd numbers. Then after the plow goes by have your shovel ready for the sidewalk and your car if you forget to move it.

Get accustomed to the ice

Make sure you know yourself and your ability to take on the ice. You have to get in the habit of leaving early to get where you need to go. Then you need to be mentally prepared to slide there and be prepared to fall. Don’t be too discouraged if you fall, it happens to the best of us.

The ice is tough, but you are tougher don’t let it get the best of you.

Pro tip: the sidewalks on campus don’t get salted until after 8 a.m. so do yourself a favor and don’t register for 8 a.m.’s next semester unless absolutely necessary. 

Get that winter mentality

Once you accept that the winter isn’t going anywhere the quicker you’ll build up a tolerance to the cold. All you have to do is know that winter doesn’t last forever, and you can outlast it. Spokane winters can be ruthless, but you are strong and by following these tips you are prepared to thrive this winter.

Riley Utley is the editor-in-chief. Follow her on Twitter: @rileyutley.


Major: Journalism I came to work at The Bulletin to gain valuable skills in reporting and editing to enhance my work as a journalist.

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