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Dateline: NOT Loon Mountain

Is there any more effective way of getting young people to do zany, somewhat dangerous things than to have a local elected official insist that they don’t? That was my thought last week when during a press conference, our mayor, Marty Walsh, (who lives in my ‘hood!) asked people to stop jumping out of windows and into snowbanks.

Doesn’t he just make you want to jump out your own window? This phenomena has come to be known as the “Boston Blizzard Challenge,” something I had been unaware of until Mayor Walsh so kindly put the idea into my head. And with so many young people in town, college students mostly, and so much snow, and so many school cancellations, how could this not have happened? We’ve now had 100 inches of snow fall this winter, and it’s only February 21st. Compare that to the annual average of 44 inches, and with winter only about half over, you can see how the situation is crying out for some hijinks.

And I have to confess, the idea of jumping into a snow bank from the second floor seems like fun. Last weekend, fearing it would otherwise collapse, I climbed onto the roof of my garage to remove snow. From the eve of the garage roof to the surface of the snow was only about three feet, which means there was about five feet of snow on the ground, a truly absurd quantity. (For those worrywarts in my readership, not to fear. I stayed away from the side that could have dropped me onto the cleared, concrete driveway.) After I finished clearing the snow, I jumped from the roof and landed with a satisfying “Splat!” in the fresh snow. Very invigorating.

Of course, I was properly dressed, with long underwear, gloves, a down vest, a down jacket, a hat, boots, etc., for a total of about forty pounds of clothing. But the Boston Blizzard Challenge folks? Mostly they jump in their underwear. Now remember, it has been a rare day over 25°F this winter, with a preponderance of days ten or more degrees colder than that. So you can see that this Boston Blizzard Challenge makes the Ice Bucket Challenge look like mere child’s play.

What follows is a few carefully curated YouTube videos to show the phenomenon. Enjoy!

This guy did a very nice video, in slow motion, and managed to film a very graceful and impressive dive.


Boston Blizzard Challenge, Junior Edition. Style points awarded for having a snow-colored dog who really wants to do this too. Obviously his parents didn’t take Marty Walsh all that seriously either. Or maybe they live in the ‘burbs.


This guy is from Rhode Island, but we’ll make this an equal-opportunity challenge. He did a great video and was the only one who actually jumped with a camera filming.


The first guy in this video has become the icon of the “movement,” probably from the combination of a beautiful flip and because his skin tone contrasts so nicely with the snow.


And who was it? Cyndi Lauper? who said, “Girls just wanna have fun?” Go for it, girls!!!


So there you have it. Levity in the face of adversity.  Saludos from the frozen north. And remember. Don’t try this on a Mexican volcano!