In winter, many Mainers becomes survival geniuses.

Every winter at some point, you will encounter the person somewhere on social media, that thinks they're the first person on Earth to ever suggest keeping things cold in the snow. They puff out their chest and lay it all out on Reddit or Facebook or whatever, and school you on the wonders of late-season outdoor storage.

Frozen beer bottle in ice with falling snow on blue background

I imagine these are the same people who refer to sports teams as "we" and "us", as though they're truly a part of the action. Then, they'll likely back it up with the two or three most obvious snow "snacks", that you've undoubtedly read about on the internet for the last 19 years. "Go ahead and pour some maple syrup on clean snow...". Wow. Never thought of that. Let's check out some less obvious, yet useful things snow can do...

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Maybe medical use is a strong word, but...

Young Caucasian woman to cool the head with a water pillow on the bed

The Old Farmer's Almanac had some great suggestions, and one that kind of jumped out initially, is that you could easily substitute snow for ice in a pinch. Not in your Gin & Tonic, but as a compress. If you were snow shoeing or cross country skiing, you might fall and twist an ankle and need to get something cold on it. Snow will easily do the trick. They also mentioned how awesome snow can be when you burn your mouth on hot pizza!

It can help get gum off of things.

Simulation scenario of chewing gum on the floor, Stick with sneakers.

This is never a problem, until it's a problem. On the rare occasion that you're stuck with gum, literally, snow can help break its bond and get it off. Much in the same way that ice cubes can. Snow can actually melt a little less and be slightly more abrasive. which brings it to another great use...

Cleaning your outdoor clothing.

Photo by Jeremy McKnight on Unsplash
Photo by Jeremy McKnight on Unsplash
loading... says that in much the same way described above for removing gum, you can use snow as an abrasive to get muck off your ski pants. If there's some mud, it will help scrub it off, without getting it too wet. Then just hang the stuff to dry, as washing and drying can be quite hard on those kinds of clothes.

Mainers have been using it as insulation for generations.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Ok, so the photo is over the top, but snow pack makes an amazing insulator. whatever it's up against it basically held right around 32 degrees. It's also part of the reason it does such a good job keeping your beer cold. It brings supreme chill, but the outside air temperatures won't affect it, no matter how cold it gets. Well, for the most part. People also have been known to bank it right up against the side of their house as an additional barrier to the cold.

Ever heard the term 'Poor Man's Fertilizer'?


My grandfather used to throw that one out all the time, whenever I'd complain about a late season snow storm. We all hate seeing snow fall toward the end of March or even into April, but it can actually be beneficial to plants and lawns. Certain seasonal processes can actually be sped up or slowed down by snow, and at key times of the year, it's actually a good thing.

Look, I'm not going to suddenly convert a bunch of snow haters into snow lovers, but it's good to know that there are at least a few ways snow can benefit us besides cold beer or a day off from school.

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