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  • 17 January 2021 by 0 Comments

How Idahoans Deal With the Cold

By Richard Larsen

Originally published – Idaho State Journal, 01/05/12

It’s been a little chilly this past week, with temperatures below zero at night, and rarely rising above single digits during the daytime. Idahoans, and especially Eastern Idahoans who have lived their entire lives adapting to our climatic extremes, are a hearty lot. Such temperatures are not a big deal, as evidenced by one of my clients who came into the office when it was minus three outside wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and no jacket. “Yea,” he said, as I asked him if it was cold enough for him, “it’s a little nippy.”

It’s also not much of a deal to my dear friends Curtis and Lana Miller who moved here from Cut Bank, Montana last year. When I asked Lana about the weather, she replied, “Yes, it’s beginning to make me feel right at home,” then she added, “but it’s still about forty degrees warmer and the arctic winds aren’t howling by at 80 miles an hour.” Coming from Cut Bank, such a response is understandable, since the city sports a 30 foot tall talking penguin that declares it to be the “Coldest spot in the nation.”

All of this reminded me of an email I received years ago that poked fun at Idahoan’s heartiness in dealing with the cold, compared with others in more balmy regions of the country. With a little editing on my part, it declared that at 60 degrees, Floridians turn on the heat, and people in Idaho plant gardens. At 50 above, Californians shiver uncontrollably, and people in Rockford sunbathe.

At 40 above, Italian and English cars won’t start, and people in Idaho drive with their windows down . At 32, where distilled water freezes, the water in Pocatello gets thicker (no offense intended to the Pocatello Water Department!). At 20 above, Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, and wool hats, while Idahoans don a long-sleeve shirt.

At 15 above zero, New York landlords finally turn up the heat, while people in Idaho have their last cookout before it gets cold. At zero, everyone in Miami would die from the cold, while Idahoans decide to start closing their windows at night. At 10 below, Californians flee to Mexico, and people in Idaho decide to get their winter coats out.

At 25 below, Hollywood disintegrates, while the Girl Scouts in Blackfoot are selling cookies door to door. At 40 below, Washington, D.C. finally runs out of hot air, and Idahoans let the dogs sleep indoors. At 100 below, Santa Claus abandons the North Pole, and Idaho moms get upset because their minivans won’t start.

And finally, at 460 below zero, all atomic motion stops, hell freezes over, the Snake River School District announces school will start two hours later than usual, and people in Idaho start asking, “Cold ‘nuff fer ya?”

AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board.  He can be reached at

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More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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