A great part of living in Canada is experiencing the four seasons. There are the months in between where we are left longing for the next season to just get started. But that’s not always the case when it comes to winter approaching!
Why do most people dread the winter?
The approaching cold winds that bring the snow as early as October or November in parts of the country are dreaded by many. It means bundling up in layers of clothing in an effort to keep warm and being extra cautious when trying to get around whether by foot or by other means of transport.
As with anything else, planning is key. If you are prepared, it’s a piece of cake!
If your main means of transportation is by car, it’s important to have the right tires to handle slippery conditions. A good set of winter tires will be your best friend and money well spent. You’ll have to consider your driving habits and conditions in your area. Keep in mind that the most expensive tires may not be the best, so shop around and get advice from a car mechanic that you trust. When you are taking a closer look at winter tires, check the size of the grooves. Generally, the larger the grooves, the better the traction, while helping to displace the snow and slush. Also, don’t wait too long to get them on your car. Come October, the good winter tires tend to fly off the shelves, and the installation times get backed up as well.
If you live in a rural area and have a long laneway to clear, you’ll know the importance of having a local guy or service show up to clear the snow away after a large snowfall. But it is also something to consider if you live in town or city. Call around for the best prices and you’ll be glad to have the convenience of a clear driveway and walkway without challenging your back and stressing about not being able to get somewhere on time!
If it is just sidewalks and a stoop that needs clearing, enlist the help of a neighbourhood teen. He’ll be glad to have a little more pocket money plus the fresh air and exercise does a lot of good.
Not dressing appropriately for the cold weather can lead to dangerous conditions such as hypothermia and frostbite, as well as freezing your fingers and toes, and getting a real chill!
So whether you are out walking, snow shovelling, skiing or snowshoeing, here are some things to keep in mind.
Whatever the outdoor temperature may be, the winds add a windchill factor that make sit seem much colder. No matter what you are doing, layering will allow you to remove or add extra layers if needed. Start with a base layer which often includes long underwear. The best kinds are made of polyester, polypropylene or merino wool that wick moisture and dry quickly.
In moderate temperatures, your base layer may simply be a t-shirt.
Your mid-layer with be a long-sleeve shirt, such as a button-up shirt.
The final layer is your insulating layer that keeps you warm. It can be a sweater, a fleece pullover, or fleece vest. When temperatures are really low, a down vest or jacket might be your insulating layer.
Wait! You’re not done yet. You still have to add your outer layer which is your outerwear–a jacket that blocks the wind and keeps rain and snow off. Depending on your outdoor activity, you may want to add waterproof and insulated pants.
We have not yet covered hats, gloves, and boots. You can lose a lot of body heat right up the top of your head, so make sure it is covered with a hat or hood. If it is super cold and windy, you might want to add a scarf or balaclava that covers part of your face. A warm pair of mittens is critical to being comfortable out in cold weather. If you are skiing, it’s good to add some glove liners for extra insulation.
It goes without saying that warm dry feet are happy feet when spending any time out on snowy sidewalks. Take your time to shop for the right pair of boots that are both warm and comfortable.
Prepare Your Home
Your home also needs a once-over both inside and out to make sure it is ready for the colder temperatures. Everything from windows and doors to lawn, garden and the deck needs a certain amount of attention. These things are best taken care of in the fall because when it gets cold outside, you’ll be keeping indoors to stay warm!