Although the polar vortex put much of the country into a record-breaking deep freeze, it wasnâ€™t all bad news. The plummeting temperatures allowed a Minnesota man and his neighbors to revive the mystifying and somewhat eerie phenomenon known as frozen pants.
Tom Grotting of Minneapolis began the frozen pants movement in 2013. A polar vortex brought sub-zero temperatures to his neighborhood and he froze then posed some jeans. The idea caught on and soon several neighbors followed his lead.
In subsequent years â€• weather permitting â€• the frozen pants returned, sparking news coverage across the country.
Last month, Grotting and his brother, John, visited Northfield, Minnesota, for the opening of St. Olaf Collegeâ€™s new hockey arena.
â€œIt was cold as cold gets that morning and I thought it would be a good opportunity to freeze some pants, of course, so I brought a couple of pairs of big daddys in a bucket,â€ Grotting said in an email.
â€œWe soaked â€™em up and draped them over the signs out front and went to dinner,â€ he said. â€œWhen we came back, the pants were hard as a rock and the game was starting so we had to get busy. Brother John is a rookie pants freezer, and from San Diego to boot, but he jumped right in and pounded on them like he owned them to get the pants shaped up.â€Â
The effort inspired Grotting to challenge his neighbors in northeast Minneapolis to freeze their pants if the temperature dropped below minus 20 degrees. He posted a video on YouTube and Instagram, showing in detail how to freeze pants:
Enter the polar vortex.
â€œPeople were freezing them all over town,â€ Grotting said. â€œNot only taking pictures, but taking them for walks, throwing them in the air and recording the perfect landing!â€
Photos and videos appeared on social media under the hashtag: #frozenpants.
Grotting even challenged himself by freezing an old tuxedo that belonged to his college roommate. What was he doing with his roommateâ€™s tux? Donâ€™t ask.
â€œIt seemed like a good idea, but a tuxedo doesnâ€™t hold water like a pair of jeans, thatâ€™s for sure,â€ Grotting said.
The fame that came with being the father of #frozenpants was fleeting, as was frozen pants season itself.Â
â€œThere are no clear avenues to monetizing #frozenpants, but itâ€™s a good icebreaker,â€ Grotting said.