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Absolute zero: MN winters rated worst in the U.S., WI's seventh worst

Two-year-old Soren Kamben of Duluth puts his all into shoveling snow from the sidewalk in front of his next door neighbor's house Dec. 29, 2016. Photo by Bob King / Forum News Service

DULUTH — Minnesota's infamous winters are the absolute worst, the most miserable of anywhere in the U.S, according to the website thrillist.com.

The website on Tuesday, Jan. 3, ranked every state on how bad its winters are. Hawaii was 50th, Minnesota was first.

The assessment was made by Kevin Alexander and Matt Lynch, who write about travel for the website.

Michigan was ranked second worst, North Dakota fourth (beating Alaska which was ranked third), South Dakota sixth and Wisconsin seventh worst.

Ranking Minnesota first in winter horribleness seems contrary to the plethora of other national lists that consistently rank the state as among the best states in the nation — for economy, well-run governments, outdoor recreation, health care and quality of life. But the authors shoveled on the insults.

With sub zero temperatures this week and several crippling storms so far this winter, it's hard to argue with them.

"To think of the generally cheerful brood of Nordic-bred people being the winners in any sort of a contest of misery seems downright crazy. But for all those adorable don'tcha knows, we think something else is going on. We think beneath that eternal Nordic happiness is some inner pain, trapped below the surface like a Grain Belt dropped into an ice fishing hole, a cauldron of hot anger ready to spill out like a cut-open Jucy Lucy,'' the columnists wrote.

They went on to note northeastern Minnesota's heavy snow totals (Wolf Ridge near Little Marais has the highest snowfall in the state) and even hit on the state-record 60 below zero reading in Tower set in 1996.

They even made fun of perennially awful professional sports teams to rub it in.

"How can you remain so upbeat when you get all the winter weather patterns? Alberta clippers? Sure. Panhandle hooks? You betcha! Parts of northern Minnesota see up to 170 inches of snow in a winter. One hundred seventy inches! That's like two and a half times the height of Kent Hrbek!! It can get down to minus 60 degrees, a temperature at which frostbite can occur in fewer than five minutes. There are no chinook winds or moderating oceans to temper things outside of a small area by Lake Superior. Your sports teams never win championships. All of your good high school hockey players end up starring for NHL teams in other cities. Ice fishing can't be that cool, really."

At least they didn't make fun of hotdish.

"And so we think that — despite all appearances — Minnesota does in fact have the most miserable winter in the United States. So to all the Eriks, and Astrids, and Christens, and Bjorns, and Brynjars, it's OK to show a little displeasure at the clusterX!$# of a meteorological hand you've been dealt. After all, don'tcha know emoting is good for the system?"

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