Although the polar vortex put much of the country into a record-breaking deep freeze, it wasn’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 ― weather permitting ― 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 College’s new hockey arena.
“It 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,” Grotting said in an email.
“We soaked ’em up and draped them over the signs out front and went to dinner,” he said. “When 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.”
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.
“People were freezing them all over town,” Grotting said. “Not only taking pictures, but taking them for walks, throwing them in the air and recording the perfect landing!”
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 roommate’s tux? Don’t ask.
“It seemed like a good idea, but a tuxedo doesn’t hold water like a pair of jeans, that’s for sure,” Grotting said.
The fame that came with being the father of #frozenpants was fleeting, as was frozen pants season itself.
“There are no clear avenues to monetizing #frozenpants, but it’s a good icebreaker,” Grotting said.