The city of Houghton looked quite different this January compared to most years. Snow banks were nonexistent and you could still see the pavement on the roads at the beginning of the month. El Niño brought unusually warm temperatures and had everyone thinking that they wouldn’t need to plow their driveways anytime soon. Students even returned from Winter Break to weather that was around 10 degrees above average! Winter Carnival was a month away and there was little snow in sight.
The Blue Key Office was flooded with phone calls and emails asking what was going to happen if there wasn’t enough snow. Canceling Winter Carnival was never even considered. Organizations semi-joked that they would rather build sand castles than let the tradition die. Sand castles seemed like a plausible option for a moment since there was an abundance of sand not being used on the roads. This would be the very last resort, aside from canceling Winter Carnival.
The obvious answer to the snow predicament was hauling in snow, but where would the snow come from? Wisconsin? Canada? The snow machines at Mont Ripley? It was also unknown how much snow was needed. It was quickly apparent that hauling in snow was more complicated than putting snow in a truck and driving it to Houghton.
The chosen solution to the dilemma was to anxiously wait and hope Heikki Lunta brought some snow to the city of Houghton. In the meantime, Blue Key asked the surrounding community to donate any clean snow they had in their yards to student organizations working on Month-Long Statues. This system worked for a week, until Houghton got the snowstorm it desperately needed.
The weekend of January 16th, Houghton saw over a foot and a half of snowfall! The pavement was no longer visible and the massive snow banks lined the edge of the roads once more. The city that once worried it would need to modify a long-standing tradition due to lack of snow was relieved once snow finally came.
Over the past few weeks, Houghton has returned to its normal self. Snowplows can be heard at all times of the day (and night). People are finally wearing their heavy winter coats and boots. The Month-Long snow statues are gradually appearing throughout the Michigan Tech campus and community. It looks like Houghton again. I finally feel at home.
Blue Key Honor Society