Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

The worst winter on Earth?

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When the first flakes of snow fly past my window, I know it has begun: another Montreal winter will soon arrive, and it could stay for six months.

How to describe the winter here? It is long, intense and arduous. There are piles and piles of snow, on buildings, on cars and on the streets. The city loses its colour and becomes monochrome; everything turns to white and grey. Familiar buildings are disguised in layers of snow and rows of icicles, and everywhere you look, you see whirling snow in every direction. The thick coating of ice on the ground means you have to walk slowly, even if you’re in a rush. And the cold! Temperatures can fall to -30°. The air is so cold that you simply cannot leave the house unless most of your skin is well covered in multiple layers. On the worst days, it can be painful to even breathe in the air - and when you do, you can feel the little hairs in your nostrils freezing together with ice crystals!

It is tempting to take shelter from all this by staying inside all winter. But the thing about people in Quebec is their winter spirit – life just goes on here, and people refuse to let the cold get them down. In the depths of winter, surrounded by overwhelming snow and ice, you will still see parents and children shopping, dogs being walked (often wearing little coats) and even a few brave cyclists commuting to work. The city continues to thrive, and people continue to go out. They also make the most of the weather, by enjoying winter sports like ice skating and sledging. Festivals such as Igloofest, the electronic music festival held in January, bring people together and keep spirits up. At Christmas time, festive songs play from speakers attached to the city’s lampposts. Despite the brutal cold, people remain cheerful and warm in their attitude, and this makes all the difference. 

And then, at some point towards April, something amazing happens. After seemingly endless months of punishing winter… the snow starts to melt. The air softens. The whiteness starts to give way to patches of colour. And there, out of the melting ice, little clusters of crocuses appear. They are bursts of red, purple and yellow, growing up out of ground that has been buried and frozen for months.  It hardly seems possible to see these tiny, delicate plants blooming, after what they have endured. Yet here they are, and they are one of the most wonderful things about this city; they remind you, every year, of what people and places can survive.  


Have you ever experienced extreme weather conditions? How did they affect you and your community?


sona1453's picture
sona1453 5 April, 2016 - 21:11

i think the best part of the snow is not to being in a school in my country even a bit of snow, governor intermit the schools at least 2 days! we can't wait to make snow war and buit a snowman

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Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 17 November, 2015 - 09:02

It was while my family were staying at our holiday home in the mountain in winter. It snowed a lot more than normal winter. Soon as we needed some food, my mom asked my big brother to drive to the village at the foot and I boarded the car with him. It seemed very dangerous to drive outside because of the thick blanket of snow on the road. At first he drove very carefully but when we came to the down slope, the car started to speed up and as soon as he put on the brake, our car suddenly did one eighty!!!
Phew……! I thought I was almost going to die!!
I also thought it would be much better to see snowscape from a distance not from in the snow!!

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gianggiang's picture
gianggiang 17 November, 2015 - 17:26

Hi, KateK.
The first half of last summer I had to go to school and the rest half I stayed at home.Last year, all Vietnamese students who have the same age with me had to spend a half of the summer studying and preparing for an important exam. If I had fail that exam, I wouldn't have been studied at a good high school.
Summer in Vietnam is sweltering in the afternoon but it is very cool in the evening. I have never seen snow, my teacher said that it wasn't romantic and comfortable as snow which appeared on films :)
Finally, I think that the worst winter on earth belongs to a region in Russia. When saliva gets out of someone's mouth, it freezes immediately.

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 17 November, 2015 - 12:53

Hi KateK,
Thanks for coming back to your post to comment, Kate. It's great to see you here. If you click the 'reply' button on a comment, your question or comment that's for a specific user will show up under their original comment and it will be easier for them to respond. I hope that makes sense.
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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bojana13's picture
bojana13 11 November, 2015 - 10:40

Yap.I was about five or four years old.It was a big snow storm,the snow was very big and we couldn t go outside.But it lasted about two or three days ,becuse the sun melted it.And since then it wasn t snowing a lot in Montenegro.The end.

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iva10's picture
iva10 10 November, 2015 - 13:27

Yes i have.I can t remember now but i think it was four or five years ago.It was snowing and the snow was that big that we couldn t go even to the store.We had to dig so that we could go for some tree to set the fire.And we couldn t go to school for two or three days.But the sun melted it so everything vent back to normal.

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