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Braving the Blizzard

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"My tail's froze...and my nose is froze and my ears are froze, and my toes are froze."

Rebel handler: Your tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker.
Han Solo: Then I'll see you in hell! Hee-yah!

When the big snowstorm hits, most people would prefer to stay inside with a cup of cocoa, waiting out the storm; they may even end up completely Snowed-In and thus unable to leave even if they wanted to. But sometimes, the plot has other plans.

Blizzards, of course, are inherently dramatic and dangerous; Snow Means Death, and freezing to death isn't a very fun way to go. Even without the fatal aspect, snow piles up fast and can make movement almost impossible, and furthermore, blizzards reduce visibility and, if there's hail, it'll hurt. Because of this, characters always seem to end up trapped in a snowstorm, or otherwise have to deal with one as an obstacle.

Perhaps they're forced to journey through it, either willingly or otherwise, often with the task of getting something like medicine- that is, if they aren't just lost and wandering. They may also just get trapped in the blizzard, forced to stay in one place while the elements rage around them. Video Games may make the storm so bad, the player can't progress without the right items or characters. In all cases, characters will struggle to survive against the cold and the wind, and in the worst cases will experience some form of hypothermia.


Contrast Crossing the Desert. Compare Big Storm Episode, Cold Snap, and Battle in the Rain. See also Slippy-Slidey Ice World for winter-based videogame levels where blizzards don't kill you.


    open/close all folders 

  • One televised commercial for Coors Beer has two rugged men in a hunting lodge surrounded by a raging blizzard. One man discovers there's no more beer, then suits up to get some. The other man points out its long walk through that blizzard to the nearest store, but the hearty friend points out it's for Coors Beer. "If y' think of it, get two."

    Anime & Manga 
  • Afro Samurai: The titular character is told that the keeper of the number 1 headband is at the top of a nearby mountain. To get there, he has to brave a very powerful blizzard. While he doesn't seem any bothered by the weather, his Imaginary Friend's grumbling shows that he's less than pleased with the situation.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Justified when Alphonse is tasked with braving the blizzard during Winry's rescue mision as he is the only one capable of doing it due to his metal body.
  • Discussed during Rohan Kishibe's introduction chapters in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable. After witnessing Josuke's rage making him immune to Rohan's stand, Koichi remembers a history about Josuke's Berserk Button involving a man helping his mom and him (who was developing a sickness thanks to Dio's power) during a historic blizzard. The man was never seen again, but thanks to his actions Josuke and Tomoko reached the hospital, and as a homage, Josuke keeps his pompadour as a personal hairstyle.
  • One Piece: In Drum Island arc, Luffy and his friends are getting fever after some hours on the island due to the sheer cold temperature. Luffy has to cross a blizzard and then climb a tall mountain while carrying his friends in order to find a doctor; he was wounded from fighting wild animals, too.
  • Pokémon: This happens in "Snow Way Out" where Ash and his friend had to brave through a terrible snowstorm. Team Rocket were also trapped, but their situation was Played for Laughs.

    Films — Animation 
  • In 101 Dalmatians, at one point, the Dalmatians have to go through a blizzard on their journey home. It's very tough, and one of the pups has to be carried by Pongo, due to being too exhausted and cold to walk.
  • Severe winter weather conditions are what prevent the antitoxin cure for diphtheria from reaching Nome, Alaska by sea and air in Balto — and the nearest rail station is 600 miles away in Nenana. A sled dog team is put together to retrieve the antitoxin, but as the weather worsens the team becomes lost. Canine hero Balto sets off through the terrible snowstorm to find the lost sled dog team and lead them back to Nome safely.
  • Frozen: After Elsa traps Arendelle in a severe winter and flees, her sister Anna chases after her, braving the storm and recruiting an ice harvester named Kristoff to help her.
  • The protagonists of Ice Age decide to take the human infant to his tribe at Glacier Pass, which includes some mountainous terrain where a fierce blizzard rages. Everyone squints, and plods resolutely through the driving snow, including the Comic Relief character Sid.
  • Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas: Daniel and his family live in isolation within the mountains, not even having a working phone line. While their father is away, his little brother gets badly hurt, so Daniel and the family dog go on a journey to find a doctor, braving the blizzard all the way through. Luckily, a team of guardian angels work to get him there safely.
  • In the animated movie based on Moshi Monsters, Poppet, Katsuma, Blinki and Mr. Snoodle have to fetch an item from the top of a very tall mountain, so they end up stuck in a blizzard.
  • In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a horrible blizzard occurs on Christmas Eve. It's powerful enough to blow away much of the town, and visibility is dropped to the point of Santa wanting to cancel Christmas.
  • The Tigger Movie: Tigger braves a blizzard when he runs away to look for his "family tree," with his friends making their way through to find him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Paleoclimatologist Jack Hall and his colleagues Frank and Jason trek through a massive, cyclone-like blizzard that's formed over most of North America in The Day After Tomorrow in order to rescue Jack's son, who is taking shelter at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library.
  • Everest: A number of mountain climbers get stuck on Mt. Everest after a blizzard hits the mountain. They are forced to press through it to make it back to the (relative) safety of camp. Special mention to Anatoli Boukreev, who ventures back out into the storm to track down stragglers.
  • In Frozen (2010), three friends get trapped on a chair-lift during a terrible snowstorm. Completely trapped, they slowly succumb to the elements, and the main character is shown suffering sever frostbite.
  • Star Wars: Early in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker gets lost in a blizzard on Hoth. Han Solo has to travel through the blizzard in order to find and rescue Luke.
  • In Way Down East, Anna is cast out of the Bartlett's home, and wanders around outside in a deadly blizzard. David, her love interest, ventures out to find her, leading to a lengthy chase through the storm, which culminates in the daring, famous rescue from the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • The 1982 made-for-TV movie World War III centers on a Soviet invasion force landing in Alaska, with the intent to sever the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The weather is almost a constant blizzard, which favors the Soviets, who are accustomed to marching through Siberia. The blizzard also precludes American air support, and severely delays reinforcements, leaving a critical pumping station to be defended by one Army company.

  • In The Cold Moons, several chapters revolve around the badgers having to brave the Welsh winters instead of being warm in their setts. Despite a mass pneumonia scare, all of the badgers survive the cold.
  • Early Riser: The last few chapters take place as a blizzard sweeps into Sector 12, with temperatures at -40 degree Celsius and wind gusts that can lift a man off his feet. Multiple characters are forced to travel through the cold, both on foot and in large Sno-Trac vehicles. And while protagonist Charlie might be able to negotiate with trigger-happy Consul agents or scheming HiberTech security personnel, no one can negotiate with a blizzard.
  • In Emil I Lonneberga by Astrid Lindgren, Emil has to take his best friend, who has gotten blood poisoning, to the doctor through a blizzard.
  • In the Hank the Cowdog book Lost in the Blinded Blizzard, Loper calls Slim in the middle of a snowstorm and says the baby has croup and needs medicine. Slim ties a bag with the medicine around Hank's neck and sends him to the house.
  • Anzha, one of the protagonists of In Conquest Born, can get a military command position, the one thing she wants most, if she succeeds at a feat on behalf of her government - a months-long trek across the ice-plains of a planet that's proving diplomatically difficult. While low temperatures and monotonous scenery are nothing to scoff at, Anzha is a signularly driven person and a little frostbite or madness won't get her down. However, the sentient, pack-hunting glacial predators give her a run for her money.
  • The Lord of the Rings: In Fellowship of the Ring, the Fellowship attempts to cross the mountains in a frigid snowstorm. They lose, and end up having to go down Moria instead.
  • In the book So Much Snow by Robert Munsch, the protagonist, a girl named Jasmine, walks to school in a blizzard. She ends up needing to be rescued when it becomes too deep for her to walk through.
  • Tortall Universe: In Lioness Rampant, Alanna, who hates cold weather, has to do this in order to face Chitral and win the Dominion Jewel to bring back home. Chitral deliberately creates a blizzard to test her as he knows why she's come. After she gains the Jewel, the blizzard instantly lifts.
  • Whateley Universe: Kodiak uses his physical endurance to go out into a magical blizzard to rescue Pejuta from an inadequately insulated sweat lodge.
  • Happens frequently in Warrior Cats, usually with warriors braving the elements to hunt for their Clan. One notable moment is when Cloudtail, as a kit, sneaks out of camp to go hunting even though he's not old enough. As a result, Firestar and Sandstorm need to brave the weather in order to find him.
  • Visser Three has a scheme going in an arctic base in Animorphs “The Extreme”. Even in bear and wolf morphs, it’s cold, and Ax and Tobias have no cold weather morphs. It helps when the group can morph seals and then polar bears. They still have to evade the Venber, an extinct alien race revived and hybridized with humans so Visser Three could use them as Arctic shock troops.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: In the episode "The Enemy Within", a transporter malfunction traps Mr. Sulu and several others on the planet the Enterprise is orbiting. As night comes on, the wind kicks up and the temperature falls dramatically. Due to the malfunction, any heaters transported down are rendered useless, and the away team is forced to use their phasers to superheat rocks in order to stay warm enough to survive.
    • In a Star Trek: Voyager episode, aliens who like it hot and dark take over the ship, so Tom and B'Elanna have to hide on the Holodeck in a blizzard because it's cold and bright. B'Elanna gets hypothermia because she's part Klingon (a species with a low tolerance for cold).

  • Brilliant Traces opens with the protagonist stumbling into a cabin in rural Alaska from a blizzard, monologuing about how her car died and she was forced to find her way blindly through the storm.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Empires III has two instances:
    • Act III of the main game has the mission "Journey Through The Andes". After Amelia and Kanyenke helped Simón Bolívar defeat the Spanish army, Bolivar helps Amelia by lending some soldiers to her. In the next level, they have to cross the Andes mountains until they reach Pacamayo. Problem is, there's a hailstorm on the area, and if they stay too much time on the cold, they start losing hitpoints and eventually die.
    • Act I of The Warchiefs has the "Valley Forge" mission, where the Revolutionary army settles on Valley Forge during the winter after suffering defeats on Brandywine and Germantown. Problem is, the area is under a hailstorm, and the initial Colonial Militia units (as well as Nathaniel and General Washington themselves) cannot stray far from the camp for too long or they die. That is, until they gather enough food and build enough huts to survive the winter.
  • BIONICLE: In the Mata Nui Online Game, Takua travels through The Wastes in Ko-Wahi in search of Matoro when a blizzard occurs. Takua braves through as the blizzard increases until he falls unconscious and is rescued by Matoro.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition sends the Herald of Andraste on a solo journey through a howling blizzard to catch up with the rest of the Inquisition, who have fled in the wake of Corypheus's attack on Haven.
  • Furi: The final level of the Stranger's prison takes the form of a mountain area with a heavy blizzard. Both the Stranger and the Voice are clearly struggling with it.
  • Near the end of Chapter 2 of Heart of the Woods, Madison spots Tara, who's lightly dressed for the winter, out in the middle of a sudden snowstorm and goes after her. The "Tara" Madison saw was an illusion, so she ends up freezing to death, but Abigail saves her soul, enabling her to live on as a ghost.
  • One level in Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings takes place on a mountain in the midst of a snowstorm, where Indiana can freeze to death if the player doesn't keep him warm.
  • Kona is set in Northern Canada during a harsh winter. Carl Faubert has been called there by W. Hamilton to solve some cases of mysterious vandalism.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The way to Snowhead Temple is blocked by a blizzard caused by a giant, invisible Goron. To get into the temple, you play the "Goron Lulluby", putting the giant to sleep and ending the blizzard.
  • Morpheus opens with the main character Matthew Holmes struggling to survive a blizzard while searching for his missing father in Greenland. On the brink of death from hypothermia and beset upon by strange hallucinations, the storm then spontaneously lets up, and Matthew finds the icebound luxury yacht, Herculania.
  • Mass Effect: The icy planet of Noveria is one of your stops during Shepard's investigation. Any weather there would naturally be blizzard-like, but there is a particularly bad one hovering over Peak 15, which, wouldn't you know, is right where you need to head to. It's so horrible that the only vehicle that can safely travel through it is the Mako, and leaving the Mako will cause the player to freeze to death.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: The also-icy planet of Voeld is one of Ryder's ports of call. Thanks to malfunctioning terraforming tech and the planet going through an ice age, the weather sucks (on first landing, the temperature will start to kill in minutes, until Ryder manages to get somewhere warm). Fixing things up means the planet becomes slightly less inhospitable, and the blizzards stop. But Ryder's teammates still gripe about the cold anyway.
  • Sinnoh's northern snow routes in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl opt for this instead of Slippy-Slidey Ice World, being covered in snow so deep you can't ride your bike, or in some places, even run on it, constant snowstorm conditions that can make it difficult to see what's around you, and constant hailstorm conditions in battle that damage most non-Ice-types every turn. There's a reason they're usually remembered as That One Level.
  • Star Fox Adventures: The blizzard at some areas of the DarkIce Mines is so strong that Fox flat out refuses to step there. You have to recruit a mammoth to carry you through it.
  • Yuki Onna (2020) is set in a blizzardy mountain that the Player Character needs to explore to find some missing kids.

    Web Comics 
  • Starfighter: Played With due to being part of a dream Cain has, in which Abel finds him at a bar in the middle of a snowstorm. Abel is implied to have journeyed a long way on foot to find Cain, who doesn't recognize him. Cain gets kicked out and is left to die in the snow. After waking up, Cain gets repeated flashbacks of Abel out in the blizzard.

    Web Original 
  • Cat Ghost: Starting in "Warmth", the characters are stuck dealing with a blizzard. They somehow escape into new forms in a new setting, but Elon returns to the original universe with Malone, and she ends up back in the blizzard, sleeping on a wagon with bodies frozen inside.

    Web Videos 
  • The Weather: "Snow", naturally, has many characters forced to endure the raging snowstorm. A post-man was stuck freezing in the cold while his customer sat inside monologuing, and a cowboy and their horse went on a journey in the cold that resulted in the cowboy killing the horse for warmth.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Around the World with Willy Fog episode "Below Zero", Fog and his companions, having learned that the train tracks between Chicago and Buffalo are blocked by snow, set out to cross the frozen Great Lakes in an ice boat. But, during the trip, it becomes clear that Tico is in danger of freezing to death and the travellers are forced to break their journey and take shelter in a log cabin until he has recovered.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender "Siege of the North", Zuko captures and takes Aang (who is in the Spirit World) further up north to avoid Zhao and his forces. It goes poorly because the North Pole is barren for miles and ends up encountering a violent blizzard. Zuko shelters then in a cave. Meanwhile, Katara, Sokka, Yue, Momo, and Appa are looking for them. Aang later regains consciousness and the Gaang eventually finds them.
  • Hilda: In episode 10 "The Storm", Hilda, David and the Great Raven have to fly through a severe blizzard/thunderstorm, caused by hundreds of Weather Spirits, to reach the weather station of Victoria van Gale (whom Hilda believes to be in trouble). Later, Hilda and the Raven brave the same storm again to reach the Weather Spirits themselves, and get them to stop arguing.
  • In the Rugrats episode, "The Blizzard", the babies experience their first snowfall. When Chuckie accidentally breaks his fire engine, the babies have an Imagine Spot where they travel through a blizzard to the North Pole in search of Santa so he can fix the fire engine. Near the end of the episode, it is revealed that the babies accidentally travelled to the South Pole instead of the North Pole. Fortunately, Lou fixed Chuckie's fire engine, so they didn't have to bother Santa.
  • In the Tangled: The Series special "Queen for a Day", a deadly blizzard strikes Corona due to a curse cast by the warlock Zhan Tiri, causing Frederic and Arianna to fall into danger. Eugene, Lance and the Snuggly Duckling thugs band together and travel through the blizzard to find them and rescue them, despite putting their lives at stake.
  • Looney Tunes: "Daffy's Southern Exposure" starts off with Daffy Duck bucking the trend of flying south for the winter, only to find himself cold and hungry in a howling blizzard. Suddenly played for laughs as he pokes his head from the curtain of snow and tells the audience "What're ya laughing at? I'm really hungry!"

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Queen For a Day

Eugene and the Snuggly Duckling thugs brave Zhan Tiri's blizzard curse to rescue Rapunzel's parents.

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