Wonder what the mountain weather is really like and how to prepare for winters in Boone? In this episode, Laurie and her guest, Janea, discuss what to expect, what to wear to keep dry and warm and which seasons in the High Country are their favorite.
Laurie: Hey guys, welcome back to AppX. This is Laurie Pope and I am here with my friend Janea.
Janea: Hello, everybody!
Laurie: We’re going to be talking to you about weather, the seasons, how to be prepared and what to expect. So, Janea, what was your first impression of the weather when you got here?
Janea: My first impression of the weather in Boone is that it’s super wishy-washy. And one day, it could be super sunny and warm, and you’re wearing a sundress, and the next day, it could be a downpour of freezing cold rain. Or, blizzarding.
Laurie: The weather never makes up its mind. And that’s something that happens through all of North Carolina but I think it’s way worse up here.
Janea: Oh, yeah. Everything is to the extreme here, minus humidity.
Laurie: If you want to be prepared for weather in Boone, let’s name five items each that we think are essential.
Janea: Alright. Number one. You need some good rain boots. I went through three pairs in two years because they were not good quality. So rain boots for men and women.
Laurie: I had to learn the rainboots lesson the hard way. People told me it snowed but I didn’t think about, like, “Oh before it snows it’s going to rain. A lot.”
Janea: In high school, you don’t need rain boots, you’re inside all day long. At App, that’s not the case--or at college in general--you’re walking to class, outside, all the time.
Laurie: Another big clothing item up here is the Chaco.
Janea: Oh yeah. The Chaco. And if you don’t know what those are, definitely Google them, look them up. They’re not really cool in other cities like Charlotte or Raleigh…
Janea: ...you will get looked at funny at the mall. But here in Boone, they’re just convenient for everything.
Laurie: People wear them hiking, people wear them around…
Janea: They’re great underwater so if you go tubing down the rivers here or jump down the waterfalls and stuff they work underwater, too.
Laurie: They strap to your feet.
Laurie: Another thing you should definitely bring is a layered coat. It doesn’t have to be a North Face, it can be whatever you want, but the one with the zip-in layers so it’s like a raincoat on the outside and when it’s cold, you zip in the warmth. That’s key.
Janea: Yes. So key.
Laurie: And it doesn’t have to be black. Colors are cool up here. So. Mine’s bright green. It’s not subtle.
Janea: At this University, this is your prime time to embrace funky colors. Because no one cares what you wear here! And everyone’s just trying out all kinds of interesting styles. So bring it. OH. Another super-big thing that you should bring. If you’re going to be in Boone, is an Eno hammock.
Janea: It’s really compatible. Not compatible. Compact?
Janea: Yes, compact.
Janea: Small! You can make it like super-small and fit it in your backpack. They have a lot of funky colors for those, too. And you’ll see students around campus with their Eno hammocks everywhere. They’re great for doing homework in, reading, snuggling with a friend...you have lots of options with those.
Laurie: They were setting up emos….emos. Eno hammocks the other day when it was like forty-five degrees. The sun was shining and people were just like “yeahhhhhh! It’s Spriiiiiing!”
Janea: That’s something you will see as soon as the sun comes out. It may be like forty-two degrees and you will see guaranteed at least two people with shorts on--or more--and no shoes. And it’s freezing outside.
Laurie: That’s something we should talk about is the no-shoes thing that happens here. A lot of people just don’t wear shoes. Around campus, around town, to class. I’ve done it. I won’t lie.
Janea: To each his own. That’s all I’m gonna say to that.
Laurie: It’s not for everyone. But it is a thing here.
Janea: And, this is probably the only time in your life you can get away with that.
Janea: In college, and in Boone.
Laurie: Yeah. As long as you’re in Boone.
Janea: Don’t go trying that at those other fancy schools. It’s not gonna work.
Laurie: No, that would not fly anywhere else.
Janea: I don’t have to use this item as much anymore, but my freshman year and my senior year, which is currently, I had to use quite a bit to and from class I would actually wear a ski mask. And you see other people doing it, I was not the only one, but the thing is the snow was not falling straight down, it was going sideways, or just head-on into your face and preventing you from seeing or breathing properly. So, embrace the ski mask when you’re not seeing. It is not lame, and it saves you a lot of pain. Especially when there’s little bits of ice in the snow.
Laurie: I’ll just put sunglasses on my face and then wrap the scarf, like, around the rest of my face.
Janea: That works too. And so we all look like burglars but. We’re warm burglars.
Laurie: Have you heard of something called Cuddl Duds?
Laurie: They’re like. Sort of a form of Long Johns, but without the “waffle” element to them, they’re just, like, an extra layer. I’ll put them under my jeans, I’ll put them under leggings...I call them my Pants Under my Pants Pants. And they’re awesome to layer on the extra-cold days. When the wind just cuts through all the clothes you’re wearing, it just stops it.
Janea: Oh yeah. Okay. Strong umbrella.
Laurie: And we say strong deliberately. Because I have seen people, just like in the cartoons, I have seen people’s umbrellas just go whooooop and suddenly it’s like a giant bowl for the rain.
Janea: It’s because in Boone, expect with each weather occasion, wind. Lots of wind. It’s not snowy, it’s snowy and windy. It’s not rainy, it’s rainy and windy. So your umbrella can’t handle that, so get a dome umbrella or just a really sturdy umbrella.
Laurie: Yeah, those tiny ones that you can, like, put in your pants pockets...those aren’t gonna fly. You need the one that you can use as a staff. If you can hide the umbrella, it’s not gonna be enough.
Janea: During the downpour rain during the Fall, I guess it was my first one, I didn’t realize that everything I was wearing needed to be waterproof. And so I ended up walking around campus, because I had back-to-back classes, in my soaking wet clothes for a long time. Because I had on a jacket, but it wasn’t waterproof. It looked like it was…
Laurie: I bet it was windproof, wasn’t it?
Janea: It was windproof.
Laurie: So misleading!
Janea: Somehow the water gets inside...oh...that might be inappropriate. No, I have to tell this story. Okay. Yeah, I just have to tell it. So I recently had just become a Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader, and we were going to open house to greet incoming students and stuff like that, like prospective students. And I had put on what I thought was a rain jacket. And somehow things just didn’t work out, and it was pouring outside, by the way, and by the time I took off my jacket, nothing else was wet on my body except for...my...right in this area...I don’t know what we can call this on the air…
Laurie: The...chest region?
Janea: The chest region. It was just soaking wet! And I was in this very professional setting, and, like, my boss took me to the restroom and made me go under the air dryer…it was just really atrocious. So please, people. Have something that’s completely waterproof, including your shoes, because you don’t want cold feet. Mom’s gonna worry about you getting sick. So, yeah, you just want everything waterproof. Not really water-resistant. That will work in Charlotte. That will not work here.
Laurie: You need to be able to fully submerge whatever you’re wearing in water.
Janea: And it will completely, just, wipe off!
Laurie: One thing that you need to keep in mind is layers. Because you’re going to leave your dorm and be like, “Oh my gosh, this is the coldest I have ever been in my entire life.”
Janea: It hurts.
Janea: “I am in so much pain.”
Laurie: But by the time you’re done walking to your class, you walk into that building, and you are just like pouring sweat. Just from walking, and then you put on a thousand layers, and so it’s good to be able to take the layers off, you’ll cool off while you’re in class, you can put another layer or two on, and then you can finish wrapping up before you walk to your next class.
Janea: And know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of when you get to class and you’re just dripping sweat, because as a community we are all going through that together. And the buildings are very warm during wintertime. So, as she said, everyone is just stripping their clothes off as fast as possible when they get to class.
Laurie: Plan to get there early so you have a least five minutes of clothes removal/wheezing time before the class gets quiet.
Janea: So you don’t have to be that person breathing heavily.
Laurie: They’ll be like (imitates extremely wheezy person).
Laurie: Especially if you’re going up a lot of stairs.
Janea: Oh my gosh. Which you will! Most of the time you’ll be walking uphill or up stairs here. Unless you’re going back. Nope, some dorms you have to go up a lot of stairs.
Laurie: It really is uphill both ways around here. You’re always walking uphill.
Janea: And that’s what makes the freshman fifteen a little bit more difficult to gain here. Because so many of the activities are outdoors and more active, and you’re just walking all the time up stairs. So. Don’t worry too much.
Laurie: Yeah, don’t worry about that freshman fifteen.
Janea: Get that ice cream cone.
Laurie: Yeah. And anything that does happen is just hibernation. We’re like bears. Don’t worry it’ll be gone by the time the sun comes out. Let’s talk about the different seasons.
Laurie: Maybe we should start with Fall, because that’s when most freshman will get here.
Janea: Yes, and fall is going to be so near and dear to your heart, as it is ours, because of the leaves! People travel hours just to come up to little ol’ Boone and Blowing Rock and go to the mountains and parkway and see the leaves changing. And, instagram purposes, it’s great for that too. You’ll get lots of likes. So get pumped.
Laurie: It’s true. All your friends off the mountain are going to be very, very jealous.
Janea: And the weather is just, like, almost perfect. It’s so prime. Actually I think Summer might be perfect, but Fall is a close-to. Because, I don’t know, there’s just no humidity. And it’s still warm, you don’t have to wear a jacket, and everyone’s hanging out outside also. You’ll be walking around campus, and, I remember my freshman year, after my first week at college here at App, I called my mom and was like, “I think I’m at a circus school, Mom...I don’t know what’s going on!” Because I didn’t realize people would be outside doing such interesting things, like, juggling, walking on slacklines--which i thought was just a tightrope, hence my circus idea--and like, you know, frisbees and just a bunch of other stuff. Oh and hula hoops, there’s hula hooping.
Laurie: People play Quidditch.
Janea: There’s Quidditch. There’s just a lot of things that you might not expect could happen on Sanford Mall. Which is the central mall on campus.
Laurie: It looks like a beach, almost.
Janea: It looks like a beach! And in the Fall it’s prime time and everyone is outside. So. You’re guaranteed to see one of your new friends while walking to class, most likely.
Laurie: Or, make some new friends while you’re out there.
Janea: Yes. But don’t give into that temptation of wanting to skip when you’re outside. Well, maybe sometimes. But it can get really difficult so make up your mind early in the day that you are going to go to class. Because once you get outside with your friends, you’re like, “This is nice.”
Laurie: “This is way better than learning.”
Janea: “Yeah, might as well just stay out here…”
Laurie: Then Fall kind of brings us into November, it starts getting cold, you might see the first snow…people start turning the heat on, and that’s when people stop shaving their beards….No-Shave November isn’t just a thing, it’s also a necessity for a lot of the men to keep warm.
Laurie: Winter starts in December, technically, but here it starts, I’d say, Halloween weekend.
Janea: Yeah, every time it’s Halloween weekend! So your costumes are going to be very interesting. You’re going to have to get really creative if you don’t wanna freeze.
Janea: And then also, winter doesn’t end in February, I just keeps going.
Laurie: My freshman year, I think we got somewhere around, I think, a hundred inches of snow? Something like that?
Janea: That’s beautiful.
Laurie: It was beautiful! But it was also just, like...in-between snows it wouldn’t melt so they kept having to find places to put the snow. And the parking lots were just unusable because they kept having to push the snow from the roads onto the parking lots. Duck Pond Field was also unusable. It was mountains and mountains and mountains of snow. And a couple people would park on top of the snow mountains and try to show how awesome their cars were. Some got stuck.
Janea: Oh gosh.
Janea: Complete. But, like how Laurie was saying about how the snow just stays on the ground for a long time, don’t let that discourage you from getting outside. Because there is something called Seasonal...something…
Laurie: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Janea: Seasonal Affective Disorder!
Janea: Which is sad...and a lot of students will just stay in their dorms and stay in their room cooped up, maybe just watching Netflix, for months on end, instead of being outside with their friends. And you just can’t do that!
Laurie: Don’t be afraid of the cold! Embrace it.
Janea: Don’t. Because you can still do fun things in the cold. Maybe not necessarily outside outside, but outside of your dorm at least!
Laurie: Exactly. And, I mean, the snow and the cold is awesome. There are awesome places to sled, I know my freshman year I went down something that is referred to as suicide hill.
Janea: Yes! Same.
Laurie: I know that seems a little dark but I actually did have a close encounter with the end of my life when I almost hit a pole.
Janea: It’s very dangerous, but worth it.
Laurie: It’s right behind the music building. And it’s just, this like, 90 degree angle.
Janea: And it’s between two buildings! Like, two brick buildings at the end of the hill. And you only have one exit. And it’s very narrow. So you have to strategically swerve and, just, fall off and hope that you roll through the exit. Thankfully, we survived. I have a friend last week….mmmm, she now is on crutches. First year on suicide hill. Didn’t work out.
Laurie: Did she hit the pole or the wall?
Janea: She hit the wall. And then someone else ran into her and...now has a concussion. But. It’s going away?
Laurie: “It’s going away?”
Janea: But that’s only, like, two out of...who knows how many. I don’t know statistics. But it’s worth a try.
Laurie: You can build igloos! There’s enough snow that you can build snowmen, you can build igloos...I remember we had a giant one. And we even had like, a window and ….we were just straight chillin in the igloo.
Janea: That’s so impressive. Now I didn’t get to jump on that bandwagon but I watched a lot of people build igloos and I was very impressed. Because until I came to App I didn’t know igloos were real. I thought that was only in books.
Laurie: So on those morning that you do wake up and it’s suddenly a winter wonderland and you get that wonderful e-mail slash text message slash tweet…
Janea: Classes are cancelled!!!
Laurie: ...and it’s wonderful. Janae, what do you like to do on those days?
Janea: It has changed over the years. Freshman year when I was, like, a go-getter…”Ahh, I’m all about the fun!” I, of course, was outside each day. We would make snowballs and lightly toss them at one another. But not snowball fighting, it was snowball tossing. Because snowball fighting was not allowed on campus, so don’t try it, you might get fined. But you, you know, might lightly toss a ball of snow to a friend.
Laurie: This is not a joke. Snowball fights are illegal here.
Janea: Yeah, that’s for real.
Laurie: You can actually get in trouble for having a snowball fight.
Janea: But now that I live off campus in a very warm and cozy, cute house, snow days are just like…”I’m going to bundle up with all the Christmas lights on and have friends over,” and we just make hot chocolate and tea, and snow cream is still in the mix, but sledding kind of went down. I don’t do it as much.
Laurie: I actually did go sledding the other week. And I hadn’t been probably since freshman or sophomore year? And we went down Strawberry Hill. Which isn’t on campus, but it is walkable.
Janea: Oh, Strawberry Hill is intense.
Laurie: It is! I’m pretty sure we watched some guy break a rib. He was trying to do, like, snowboarding tricks. You can snowboard! That’s something we haven’t talked about at all.
Janea: Oh yeah. When the snow starts coming everyone flees to all the places where people snowboard and ski!
Laurie: App Ski has really great student prices. And so definitely take advantage of that. But there is also Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain and those are great.
Janea: Don’t be like me, folks. Don’t avoid going snowboarding and skiing because of fear of breaking a bone. It’s my senior year and I still haven’t done it. And, you know, I’m okay with that. I’m going to own my fears and just channel them into other areas like...making the best snow cream on campus.
Janea: By the way if you want that recipe, I mean, I could hook y’all up. Super simple. Or just Google it. Like I did. Everything’s on Pinterest.
Laurie: True. Yeah, so, if you’re into the more intense snow sports, we got that. If you’d rather sled and make snowmen, that’s obviously an option as well.
Janea: Exactly. Or, if you just want to sit around and knit all day, that’s a great time to do it. Snow days, YouTube “Learn How to Knit.” It’s great. I hope that doesn’t sound too lame. Someone out there has got to think that’s fun.
Laurie: Well. After you survive Winter--actually there will be a couple fake Springs where you think Winter is over and you’ll be like “yeah, that wasn’t so bad--we survived!” Wrong. But, when it finally gets here, usually I say the safe time is by Easter, usually it will be before that but rarely ever after. And people just come out of the woodwork and you’re like, “Oh yeah, all these other humans attend this school!”
Janea: So true!
Laurie: They are everywhere! And even if it’s initially like, 45 or 50 degrees, people are in shorts, they’re wearing their Chacos, people will bust out the sunscreen…
Janea: There is so much going on. Everyone is getting FroYo from the Student Union and taking it out on Sanford Mall, and the slacklining is happening, and people are very friendly if you wanted to attempt to slackline, which is the whole walking in the tightrope thing I was talking about, they’ll let you try it, hold your hand during the process. But people don’t just slackline here during the Springtime, they’re like jumping, doing backflips, cartwheels, handstands...like, they go HAM.
Laurie: There’s, and I think you can take for P.E. credit, an African dance class...
Janea: Oh yes, with Sherone Price. Note. Write that down people. Sherone Price.
Laurie: It’s excellent. And on really nice days he’ll bring the class out to Sanford Mall and people can just join in.
Janea: And there’s a drum circle. One of the other professors here, he’ll come out and he plays his drums and sings his African songs…don’t really know what the proper word for that is but he sings and everyone’s just going at it and it’s really awesome.
Laurie: No one’s really, like, excelling at it.
Janea: No. Just the professor.
Laurie: And then, finally, it’s the end of the semester, you stay out of the sun long enough to study and pass all of your exams…
Janea: It’s a fight. She’s making it seem like it’s really easy. It is a struggle.
Laurie: It’s true.
Janea: So persevere people, it’s worth it. You know, once the end of the semester comes, it’s beautiful, but if you stay in Boone for the Summer...boy. You are in for a treat.
Laurie: It’s perfect.
Janea: Literally perfect.
Laurie: Litrally perfect. Everyone down the mountain is...it’s like 100 degrees, it’s way too humid to have fun…up here, there’s no humidity…
Janea: Your hair stays the way it was in the morning.
Laurie: And Boone was just made for doing things outdoors. You can go jump off waterfalls, you can spend the entire day floating down a river in an innertube, you can go hiking.
Janea: You can go kayaking!
Laurie: It’s...you won’t be bored here in the summer. If you have a chance to stay for Boone Summer, I highly recommend it. I think everybody should do it at least once.
Janea: Yeah. The freshman that I know that stay here for Boone Summers, after their first year, they either get one of the on-campus jobs--a lot of them offer on-campus housing for the Summertime. Staying in Boone for the Summer might sound a little weird right now, but definitely consider it. You meet some awesome people and there’s just so much freedom.
Laurie: There is. And there’s something about--and you’ll be like “oh, but all my friends are leaving!”--but there’s something about Boone Summer that just bonds you together, and you’ll make a whole new set of friends from being there during the Summer.
Janea: Oh yeah.
Laurie: Or if you take Summer classes. I still hang out with people that I just sat next to in Summer classes. Because we’re like…”do you just wanna go eat after this? Let’s keep hanging out. Cool.”
Laurie: Well Janae, thank you for coming and chatting with us, pleasure having you.
Janea: This was fun!
Laurie: Absolutely! I think we have done all we can to prepare, mentally, our future Mountaineers. But they’ll just have to come and see for themselves.
Janea: You’re gonna love it. No matter what.
Laurie: Yes, don’t worry--you’ll love it. Again, thank you for listening, this has been AppX. Stay tuned we’ve got more coming out for you.
Janea: Yeah, goodbye everyone, wishing you all the best in your future Appalachian adventures! And get excited about all the memories and stories you’re about to make.
Laurie: Thanks for listenin
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.