We are #1!

Guess who came out on top in a list of Every State, Ranked by How Miserable Its Winters Are? You guessed it. Although the psychoanalyzing of Minnesotans is way off the mark.

1. Minnesota
To think of the generally cheerful brood of Nordic-bred people being the winners in any sort of a contest of misery seems downright crazy. But for all those adorable don’tcha knows, we think something else is going on. We think beneath that eternal Nordic happiness is some inner pain, trapped below the surface like a Grain Belt dropped into an ice fishing hole, a cauldron of hot anger ready to spill out like a cut-open Jucy Lucy.

How can you remain so upbeat when you get all the winter weather patterns? Alberta clippers? Sure. Panhandle hooks? You betcha! Parts of northern Minnesota see up to 170in of snow in a winter. One hundred seventy inches! That’s like two and a half times the height of Kent Hrbek!! It can get down to -60 degrees, a temperature at which frostbite can occur in fewer than five minutes. There are no chinook winds or moderating oceans to temper things outside of a small area by Lake Superior. Your sports teams never win championships. All of your good high school hockey players end up starring for NHL teams in other cities. Ice fishing can’t be that cool, really.

And so we think that — despite all appearances — Minnesota does in fact have the most miserable winter in the United States. So to all the Eriks, and Astrids, and Christens, and Bjorns, and Brynjars, it’s OK to show a little displeasure at the clusterfuck of a meteorological hand you’ve been dealt. After all, don’tcha know emoting is good for the system?

No, no, no. This is precisely wrong. Minnesotans wallow in their gloriously bad weather. You would not believe how many times I’ve heard residents brag about the Halloween blizzard of 1991 — and I kind of feel bad that I didn’t move here until 2000, so I can’t contribute to the myth. Every winter I, and every other Minnesotan, check the weather reports religiously, because otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, and besides we’re hoping for another day of record breaking cold. Bring on the polar vortex! We’d be heartbroken if we had weather as boring as, say, Iowa’s.

We’re all frost giants up here, and proud of it.


  1. cartomancer says

    I’m sure there are Inuit and Siberians scoffing at the mildness of your so-called “winter” down there in those balmy southern climes!

  2. aspleen says

    The landscape in Iowa is boring, but the weather in Iowa definitely isn’t. In fact I drove from Iowa to the Twin Cities on Halloween Night in 1991 and the weather in Iowa was plenty crappy I can assure you.

  3. says

    I’ve always thought it odd that Minnesota has a large population of people from Somalia and Vietnam. It’s as if someone said, “Oh yeah? You don’t like the heat? Here, check this out…”

    Humans are delightfully adaptable, which is good because we’re going to need to be.

  4. says

    It’s bizarre that Illinois is ranked as being worse than Indiana. Having been in both during snowstorms, thanks to family obligations, I can tell you: Indiana is every bit as bad as Illinois, except that because it’s a very Red State which believes in “small government”, they nickle-and-dime on snow removal and road maintenance, and have practically no rail transport, so that even an inch of snow can paralyze everything for hours. It takes a foot of snow to trap you in your car for an hour in Illinois; it takes half an inch in Indiana.

  5. jwwalker says

    When they said “your sports teams never win championships”, they must have forgotten the Minnesota Lynx, which won the WNBA championship 4 times.

  6. lumipuna says

    As for the masses of snow – how do you get that much moisture in the middle of continent?

  7. aspleen says

    The U.S. Midwest has a low elevation that allows for the transport of warm and humid air masses from the Gulf of Mexico northward.

  8. says

    Congratulations from Montana where we celebrate our winters, too, because it means ski season is upon us. Also, I am a competitive snow shoveler who pushes himself to ALWAYS have the cleanest sidewalks in my neighborhood and I always try to be done first. If you walk by my home, you can bet the sidewalks will be clear of ice and snow. Bring it, winter! You will not intimidate me!

  9. says

    Your sports teams never win championships.

    Sexist fuckers forgot about the Lynx!

    With four championships, the Lynx are tied with the Houston Comets for the most titles in WNBA history, and they have won more Western Conference championships than any other franchise.

    (I see now that jwwalker beat me to this…but I still felt it worth repeating.)

  10. says

    Cartomancer: Siberians aren’t US citizens as they live in Russia, and admittedly, there’s a reason you don’t fight a land war with Russia. As for the Inuit, they mostly live along coastal Alaska which actually has a milder climate than Minnesota. For the most part. On the other hand I wouldn’t trade S. Minneapolis for Point Barrow, nor the north shore of Superior for any stretch of Arctic Ocean coastline.

  11. springa73 says

    Here in Massachusetts, we take a different tack – we constantly complain about the weather. In the winter we complain about how cold it is, even though it’s much colder elsewhere. In the summer we complain about how hot it is, even though it’s much hotter elsewhere. In the spring and autumn we complain about how much rain there is, or how quickly the weather changes from day to day, even when it is worse elsewhere. It’s just what we do.

  12. springa73 says

    @Jonathan Norburg #11 – I could be wrong, but I think the Inuit who live in the US are most concentrated in northern Alaska, which I’m pretty sure is colder than Minnesota even with global warming. A lot of northern Alaska is tundra, too cold even for trees.

  13. cartomancer says

    Well yeah, of course Siberians are not US citizens (most of them anyway, I’m sure there are a few who have moved). That doesn’t mean they can’t look down their noses at what people in Minnesota think of as bad weather.

  14. says

    springa73: I sit corrected. You are right. They do populate the northernmost reaches of Alaska and share the northern tier of Canada with Aleut and other native tribes.

  15. says

    cartomancer; while yes the Siberians would sneer at what we in Minnesota consider cold, the article in question deals with the US states with the worst winters, a title I would gladly allow Montana, North Dakota or Alaska to appropriate for themselves. Mentioning Siberia is like reading an article on the states with the highest mountains (Alaska or Colorado, take your pick) and then bringing up how the mountains in Nepal are taller. Yes they are, but they aren’t in the US.

  16. Mark Jacobson says

    North Dakota would be ranked higher but not enough people survive the winter here to report it.

  17. cartomancer says

    Jonathan Norburg, #16

    Just because the original article limited the comparison to different regions of the same country, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is irrelevant. Indeed, it is a further deep silliness to be smug about the harshness of one’s winters when there are plenty of people whose winters are harsher still. There is always a bigger fish.

    Perhaps the humour of the Siberian perspective is not something that works terribly well in the US. Perhaps it’s a more British thing to find the futile pretensions of someone who thinks they’re number one brought jarringly down to earth very funny.

  18. hemidactylus says

    I think the sports lament is over the Vikings, who lost four Super Bowls. Buffalo has a similar lament.

    I wonder if Angrboða resides in Minnesota. If so Hel is truly in Minnesota as are Fenris and Jörmungandr. The four Super Bowl losses will be avenged and it won’t be pretty.

  19. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin — who has a certain familiarity with Antarctica (and Pluto) — points out Minnesota is unbearably warm and full of spiders, lacking in cheeses, and contains peas. Probably also contains nuts.