Winter in the Fox Cities can be an experience all its own. We think that’s a good thing.
For students coming from the upper Midwest, the arrival of Lawrence University’s Winter Term is business as usual. For students coming from warmer climates, well, it can be an adjustment the first time you experience it. Proper clothing—winter coat, hat, gloves—is the priority, of course. But always remember that winter is mostly about attitude. Lawrence likes to embrace what we call LUgge, inspired by a Danish and Norwegian word, Hygge (pronounced "hoo-ga"), that speaks to a feeling of coziness and contentment. It’s a mindset made for Winter Term, complete with a cup of hot chocolate and a pair of warm socks.
If you’re ready to lean into winter, we’ve got a handy guide to help you get outside to enjoy it.
Here on campus
Take a walk: The Lawrence campus is gorgeous all year, but perhaps never more so than after a freshly fallen snow. A walk along the paths of Main Hall Green or along the Fox River as snow and ice cling to the trees can be a moment of tranquility. Embrace it. Making a snow angel is a bonus.
Ormsby Lake: Once the weather gets cold enough, you can ice skate without ever leaving campus. The Lawrence Facilities crew turns the lawn in front of Ormsby Hall into Ormsby Lake each winter. The rink is perfect for ice skating as you soak in the sunshine of a brisk winter’s day. If you don’t have skates, round up friends for a game of broom ball.
Winter Carnival: In a Lawrence tradition that has its roots dating back to the 1930s, students are invited to partake in Winter Carnival, beginning in late January and running into early February. Comprised of events both indoor and outdoor, Winter Carnival is a week-long nod to the season. Think broom ball, hot chocolate, and the building of snow creatures. This year there is even an organized road trip to Titletown, the fan-friendly development adjacent to Lambeau Field in Green Bay that features, among other attractions, a skating rink and sledding hill. Keep an eye on the Events Calendar for all the details.
Björklunden: Student groups venture to Lawrence’s pristine Door County retreat regularly during the winter months. From the comfort of the lodge to the beauty of the trails that run through the 441-acre estate along the Lake Michigan shoreline, it is an opportunity to connect with nature and bond with friends while taking in some of Wisconsin’s most dazzling winter views.
Venturing off campus
Downtown hike: A winter walk through Appleton’s downtown can be charming. Check out the multitude of local shops, restaurants, and—perhaps most significant in the winter—coffee shops. Don’t forget that Lawrentians get a discount at many of those stops through the Viking Downtown Deals program.
Downtown Appleton events: You don't have to go far to take part in downtown Appleton events geared toward winter fun. Annual events include the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade, the monthly indoor winter market, Death by Chocolate, and Avenue of Ice. Keep an eye on events at the Appleton Downtown Inc. website for details.
Trail walks: There are more than 100 miles of walkable trails in the Fox Cities, some accessible directly from campus. if you have proper footwear, most trails are enjoyable throughout the winter months. Hike at High Cliff State Park (10 miles from campus) or on the 3.5-mile Loop the Lake trail that features four trestle bridges while circling the lower portion of Little Lake Buttes des Morts (7 miles from campus). Closer to campus, explore multiple trails along the Fox River.
Ice skating: Jones Park in downtown Appleton is just a couple blocks west of campus, and it is a thing of beauty in the wintertime. The nearly six-acre park includes an ice-skating rink, a hockey rink, and a warming shelter. If you want to venture a little farther from campus, you also can find ice rinks in several other Appleton parks, including Erb and Pierce (both about 1 mile from campus). And if you want to take a road trip, downtown Neenah (9 miles from campus) has an ice-skating rink called The Plaza at Gateway Park that has been named one of the best outdoor skating rinks in the country. Note: Ice skate rentals are available in the pavilion at Jones Park and at The Plaza at Gateway Park.
Sledding hills: If you’re looking for off-campus sledding opportunities, there are a couple within walking distance of campus—Reid Municipal Golf Course (1.3 miles from campus) and Erb Park (1 mile from campus). If you have transportation, other opportunities include Appleton Memorial Park (3 miles from campus), Sunset Park in Kimberly (3 miles from campus), Outagamie County's Plamann Park (6 miles from campus), Fritse Park in Neenah (8 miles from campus), and Grignon Park in Kaukauna (8 miles from campus).
Cross-Country skiing or snowshoeing: Best bets in Appleton are at Reid Golf Course (1.3 miles from campus) and Bubolz Nature Preserve (5 miles from campus). Bubolz has more than 8.5 miles of beautiful trails suitable for skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. Other nearby options include 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna (8 miles from campus) and Smith Park and Conservancy Area in Menasha (7 miles from campus). Note: Bubolz Nature Preserve rents skis and snowshoes; 1000 Islands Environmental Center rents snowshoes.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding: This will be a bit of a road trip, but you can find downhill skiing and snowboarding within an hour and a half or so drive from campus. Best bets are Nordic Mountain in Wild Rose (50 miles from campus) or Granite Peak Ski Area near Wausau (90 miles from campus). Plenty more options abound if you are up for a longer drive. Note: All have ski rentals.
Fat tire bike trails: Fat tire riders have a couple of winter options in Appleton. Reid Golf Course (1.3 miles from campus) and Appleton Memorial Park (3 miles from campus) are available, as long as you stay on the groomed trails. Note: Cranked Bike Studio in Neenah and Recyclist Bicycle Co. in Kaukauna rent fat tire bikes.
Looking for more information on what’s available in the region? Check out the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau here