Cigar Aficionado

Too Cold To Smoke

I like to think that I’m no Sally when it comes to the cold weather. I’ve lived in the northeast for my entire life, and winter can be pretty cold up here. But recently I encountered temperatures that kept me from enjoying a cigar—even for a very short time.

I was recently in Vermont with friends on the side of Okemo Mountain, staying in a ski house. I’m no skier, but I enjoy the après-ski activities. (Fair warning—if you ever see this guy on a pair of skis and you’re on the same mountain, grab everyone you love and get them the heck out of the way. I have as much control out there as a lit bottle rocket stripped of its fins.)

So on Saturday night, it was time to grill some dinner. I decided that would be the perfect time to enjoy a little pre-dinner smoke. I chose a cheroot, threw on a light jacket and walked outside to light the grill.

It was so cold I couldn’t light the Weber. I jumped back inside, slapping my hands to warm them up. My buddies chuckled. Now I bundled up properly—ski coat, boots, a hat and some gloves, and headed back out.

Did you ever watch that movie “The Day After Tomorrow?” There’s a scene where a trio of helicopters are downed by an intense blast of cold air swooping over the United Kingdom. I think the temperatures were –150 degrees.

Well, imagine that, only a little bit colder. That’s what it felt like.

So I went back inside, this time determined to get enough gear on to handle the cold. I put on some ski goggles, one of those face wraps that cover your nose and mouth, and would have added thermal underwear but I didn’t want the steaks to burn. Then I went outside, fired up the cheroot and moved the face wrap just enough to expose a little bit of my mouth.

Ah. Savory smoke.

The cigar was delicious, but even with all that wrapping on I couldn’t enjoy it. Not even close. And the howling wind (the wind chill that night was below zero) made the cigar difficult to stay lit.

I finished the steaks, tossed the cigar and headed in. It was far, far too cold to smoke a cigar. This time, the weather won.

"Dave, in a couple of weeks you will be in the sun in D.R at the festival, great cigars, Presidente beer and some great Rum, what a good life you and James have." —February 3, 2009 11:07 AM
"Dave: Have fun in the DR. Please send a post card with warm weather. I can not wait to read the blog about your trip. Cheers, Micky" —February 10, 2009 12:55 PM
"Dave, I sympathize with you. Coldest I've seen on the front porch here this winter was -22F. On my way in to work that morning it was -31F going through the next town over. Thomas Paine must have been a cigar smoker because winters ARE the times that try men's souls. As Jose said, enjoy the festival. Once you're there, those frost-bitten fingers, icicle-laden eyebrows, and frozen toes of Okemo will just be a dim, painful memory. :-)" —February 3, 2009 21:07 PM