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Published October 28, 2011

Rutland, Vermont - As the first snowflakes of the season fall outside, Charlie Maxwell heaves a forty pound bag of trail-mix into his bedroom. Black-out curtains darken the windows and a hospital catheter unit stands beside the bed. Mr. Maxwell zips up his thick velour jumpsuit. "Fuck winter," he yawns.

This weekend, Mr. Maxwell will turn out the lights and attempt to sleep all the way until April. "Cold as a snowman's balls out there. Wake me up when shit melts and the sun shines."

Mr. Maxwell prepared for hibernation by studying the eating patterns of black bears and the exercise routines of coma victims. "The name of the game is calories. Stuff your face, and lie very still."

Every day since September, Mr. Maxwell has spent four hours combining lunch and dinner at Golden Corral Buffet, before returning home to sleep on average seventeen hours. "Not including naps," he added.

Still, scientists are skeptical. "Humans cannot slow down their metabolism like hibernating mammals," said Wagner Price, Ph.D. "Mr. Maxwell may be morbidly obese, but he's not adapted to survive on fat alone.”

However, Mr. Maxwell insists there is no turning back. “I already set my cell phone alarm clock."

The king-size memory foam bed beckons like a nest, a large depression hollowed in the middle from long hours of training. Mr. Maxwell is anxious to get started.

“The animals got it all figured out. Hunker down or head south. I thought about Florida, but I want to have six-pack abs for the beach. There's always next year. Something to dream about."

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