If this is going to be your first winter in one of Canada’s snowy regions, you may not be very skilled at dealing with snow. Don’t let winter catch you off guard, though. Instead, learn how to deal with the snow and ice before it arrives. Prepare early by investing in snow removal tools, warm winter clothing, winter accessories for your vehicle, and a home emergency kit in case of a storm or power outage. Even if winter seems mild so far this year, don’t be left out in the cold, both literally and figuratively, when harsh weather does hit.
Use the Right Tools
There are a range of options available for dealing with snow removal on your property. From shovels to mechanical snow blowers, each tool serves its own purpose, though ultimately they all exist to help clear snow from sidewalks and driveways. If you have a large area to clear and regularly have heavy snow, it may be best to invest in a mechanical snow blower, which can handle large snow-clearing jobs with minimal effort on your part. There are two main types of snow blowers: one-stage and two-stage models. One-stage models are fine for those who have smaller spaces to clear, while two-stage models have the additional capacity to break up compacted clumps of snow and ice and are ideal for large areas.
For handheld, non-mechanical tools, the snow shovel is the classic all-purpose tool, but it isn’t right for every job. If you have a small amount of loose, powdery snow, use a snow pusher to clear it away rather than a shovel, which is best for scooping and lifting. Pushers won’t work on larger snow piles; that’s what shovels are for. If the small piles of snow are not removed, they could become compacted and build up a layer of ice, which may then require you to invest in a scraper to get rid of it.
Other snow tools, such as roof rakes, may also be necessary. These rakes help clear heavy piles of snow off of your roof, which may save your home from structural damage if you’re dealing with a large amount of snow. It’s also a good idea to have some type of gritty material such as sand or salt to create traction on icy parts of your driveway or walking paths.
If you aren’t already properly equipped with a winter wardrobe, take the time before temperatures dip below freezing to buy yourself a sturdy pair of boots, a warm parka, gloves, a hat, thermal underwear, and any other warm clothing you might need. Wearing several thin layers of clothing is more effective in keeping you warm than one bulky layer. Layering also allows you to remove a layer or two if you get too warm, which prevents excess sweating and actually keeps you warmer. If you are new to an area, don’t hesitate to ask your friends, coworkers, neighbours, or classmates about what to expect during wintertime and what clothing and accessories are best suited for the local climate.
Also, make sure you and your vehicle are ready for winter driving. If you’re new to a snowy climate, it may be a good idea to take some winter driving classes to learn how to safely drive over snow and ice. Make sure the heater, defroster, and wipers are working correctly and top off fluids such as antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. Check tire tread depth, and if necessary, get a set of winter tires fitted when temperatures start falling. Lastly, assemble an emergency kit to leave in the car that includes ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, and blankets.
Have an Emergency Plan
Though most of Canada is well equipped to deal with heavy snow, occasionally there are major storms that knock out power and other utility services for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. When this happens, getting out of your house may be challenging. Stock up on non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foods and have a supply of clean drinking water as well. A camping stove or grill is good to have so you can warm up meals if necessary. Keep plenty of warm blankets in the house and invest in emergency supplies such as a first aid kit, weather radio, flashlight, batteries, and candles.
Take Up a Winter Hobby
When you live in a snowy climate, it helps to have an attitude of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Give yourself a reason to look forward to the snowy season by getting into a winter sport. If you don’t live near an area with downhill skiing, get into snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. And of course, living in Canada, it’s hard to ignore the allure of hockey. Getting active and learning how to make the most of all that frozen white stuff will make your life a lot more enjoyable. You can’t get rid of all of it, so make peace with it instead.