The winter solstice arrived officially this week for the planet’s northern hemisphere. Many people around the world learned about the new season thanks to little notifications that popped up on social media, when they logged in on Dec. 21. For millions across Russia, however, the winter wakeup call came when the air outside dropped to historic lows, in some places as cold as -62 degrees Celsius (-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
You might shiver just thinking about such intense weather, but not everyone in Surgut, Noyabrsk, or Tyumen was so lily-livered, and the subfreezing temperatures have actually inspired dozens of inventive stunts, filmed and shared online.
The Russian website TJournal collected some of the best footage.
Perhaps this week’s most amusing winter video is one of the simplest: a YouTube user in Surgut named Igor Lazarev published a video, presumably of himself, on a swing, in the snow, munching on an ice-cream bar. And, oh yeah, the temperature was -51 degrees Celsius (-60 degrees Fahrenheit).
If you think it’s just Russia’s burly, bearded men who brave the elements in such extreme cold, think again. In Yakutsk, someone filmed a small child playing solitarily at a playground in the middle of a snowstorm. The weather was 50 degrees below freezing.
In Noyabrsk, where it was just as cold, a couple driving down the street caught sight of a man riding his bicycle down the sidewalk. To keep his coat up over his face, he even steers the bike one-handed.
Also in Noyabrsk, a local man proudly shared a video showing how he managed to start his car when it was -47 degrees Celsius. Filmed inside the vehicle, the footage is partly obscured by the thick vapor of his breath. At one point in the video, he presses his finger into the passenger seat, to see how well the car has thawed. (The experiment doesn't end well.)
More than a few people in Russia’s frostbitten cities grabbed their accordions and hit the streets, blasting out renditions of “Murka,” one of the country’s most beloved and bawdy “criminals’ songs.” These musicians’ dexterity is especially impressive, given how amazingly cold it was.
In Izhevsk, where it was -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), one young man didn’t take an accordion outside, where he was filmed jogging completely nude. Judging by the footage uploaded to YouTube, he wasn’t even wearing shoes.
In Nefteyugansk, where temperatures dropped to -46 degrees Celsius, two friends decided to have some fun with a hot tea kettle, splashing a full container into the air outside, where it froze before hitting the ground.
On Instagram, some people have uploaded outdoor selfies, showing snow and ice caught in their eyelashes. A few young women have actually achieved quite spectacular photos, following this trend.
Some of these pictures might involve a little staging and editing magic, however, if Maxim Fitsev’s snow-selfie is any indication of what a raw photograph in these conditions really looks like.