I don’t actually remember my first snow-related experience, but my mom does and likes to recall it – it was the moment I saw snow for the first time in my life. I stared through the window in awe and asked her “what is this?!” She explained it to me and then we went outside so that I could check it out for myself.
Other cool winter memories are all from my childhood as well. My friends and I had fun outside all day despite the cold – playing snowballs, sliding, building snow fortresses, and so on. It would be nice to do all that again and I think I might.
Until this year, a snowy Christmas was only in my dreams, just like in the song White Christmas. Ever since I got to ITMO University, I was waiting for the winter to arrive. Finally, it is here and oh boy, how amazing it is! Although I had been to snowy places before, this is definitely my first time in a sub-zero climate.
Some of the activities that I have done so far include eating snow, playing with snowballs, and clicking pictures of the niveous landscape. I am excited to celebrate Christmas and Russian New Year. My friends and I are going to decorate the dorm next weekend. I have also made a funny slogan to match the occasion – with hot chocolate in the belly, let’s watch some movies on the telly!
Seeing snow seems like a fairy tale every time, I can’t believe we can go from all wet and grey to crunchy white snow, a white layer of magic all over. My best memories of snow are jumping up and down in it, making a snow slide with kids in the park, shaking snow-laden trees, and making snow angels with friends. Lying down on fresh snow feels surreal, like a comfortable cushion created just for you on the ground. And most of all, I love when the snow falls and doesn’t melt immediately on you, and you can just stand there, looking at the sky and watching the big clumps of snow make their way down!
Sports and speed are hardly my thing, hence the clumsy girl’s guide to snow, but even given that, I still can’t resist flying down an icy hillside on a ledynka sled, a piece of cheeky plastic with a handle, or on its modern version – a vatrushka, a cushy round inflatable sled that can go on snow, too. Vatrushkas are now a preferred vehicle, available at public sled hills like Nikolskie Ryadi. My favorite place to sled is down the lake slopes in Ozerki, within walking distance from the metro station. They’re just steep enough to give you a thrill and, in a snowy year, white enough to keep it authentic. On the downside, they can get crowded and since you slide onto a lake, the whole experience is contingent on water freezing over. If you’re super coordinated, you can try sledding down an ice slope on your feet, too!
As a child, I couldn’t get enough of snow slides – it was by far my favorite activity that truly nothing, not even summers spent exploring my grandparents’ garden, could compare with. Perhaps it was not just snow but also my dad who has always been the best partner in crime in my childhood. This is somewhat of a forgotten joy these days – I simply don’t have enough thermal gear, but catching snowflakes while strolling down the streets of St. Petersburg is my new winter magic.
By far the brightest snow-related memory of the last few years was the Winter Psychology School that my university held at one of the recreation centers on the Gulf of Finland. Since the Gulf itself was frozen and everything was covered with piles of snow, I felt what I imagine being stranded on a new planet could feel like – a surreal white terrain stretching as far as the eye can reach. I never knew local space travel was possible, but there you go!
With the coming of winter, I always start to think about the good old days when we used to go on family outings to Pavlovsk Park. Sledding down the hills, having snowball fights, going ice skating or skiing – when I was a kid, the park, so large and snowy, seemed like a real-life winter wonderland brimming with adventures. Most of my fond memories are with my dad. He has always been and still is a lot of fun! No wonder, I’ll never forget how he tried to teach me to skate, always shook trees’ branches to get me covered in snow from head to foot – and especially this one time when he pushed my sled down a hill so that I had a very close encounter with a tree (nobody got hurt but, dad, we do still have it on tape).
I’m still a huge fan of snowy winters. They do the magic for me! Especially those cold, snowy, and peaceful nights when the only thing you can hear is your thoughts and snow “squeaking” under your feet. As the first snowflakes touch the ground (let me point out: in December), I immediately catch the holiday spirit and get excited to kick off the season of hot beverages, festivities, and much more.
When I was about five, my family moved from a flat into a house, and that’s where all the coolest memories about snow come from. The spacy snow-covered courtyard made it a perfect venue for winter activities. Since the park was far away and always crowded, my dad and I went skiing right in the garden, riding down the self-made hills and spinning around the house waving to mom who’s constantly checking out our skiing shows from the window. By the looks of our neighbours I figured out we looked kinda weird, but who cared? It was the greatest excitement bumping into snow piles and putting my trendiest outfit, which consisted of felt boots, huge pants and leopard coat to the test.