How on Earth am I Going to Survive a Winter in Alberta? |

How on Earth am I Going to Survive a Winter in Alberta?

It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are dropping and you need to start wearing warmer clothes. A lot of students are dreading the colder months, however if you dress appropriately and participate in winter activities, you can embrace the season with a positive attitude. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for a Canadian winter!





Winter clothes

The most important piece of clothing you need is a good winter jacket. These can be expensive, which is why many of my students find a cheaper alternative. But if you don’t buy a good quality jacket, you will freeze all winter. The warmest coat you can find is down-filled. If you don’t like the style of these coats, wool coats are also a good alternative. You can find this information on the label of every jacket. Prepare to spend around $100+. You can find good options at The Bay,  Winners, Zara, Aritzia, and MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op). Some of these stores have multiple locations, so you can Google to find the address most convenient for you.

Once you have a good winter jacket, you will also need a hat, scarf, and gloves. Up to 60% of your body heat can escape from your head - cover up! Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. In general, mittens are warmer than gloves since they keep your fingers close together. All of these can be found at the same stores mentioned above or even at the dollar store. If you are planning on doing winter activities consider long underwear. Long underwear is layers you wear under your clothes to keep warm in very cold conditions.

As for shoes winter boots are essential for traction (so you don't slip on the ice), warmth and to protect your feet from getting wet. 

Sunglasses are also a good idea since the sun reflects off the snow and can make it difficult to see. They also help prevent your eyes from getting dry when it's windy.


Winter Activities

Once you are all bundled up, it’s time to enjoy some fresh air and experience the many activities available in the winter.



Tobogganing/Tubing – this is a plastic or wooden sled that you sit on and it carries you down a hill. This can be very fun if you race your friends to the bottom. 


Skating – there are plenty of indoor and outdoor skating rinks. Indoor rinks may include skate rentals as well. If you really enjoy skating, it’s a better value to buy a cheap pair of skates from Canadian Tire. 




Skiing/Snowboarding – this activity can be a little expensive but may be offered as a dorm activity or accommodations activity. If you're wondering what the plan is feel free to contact your dorm supervisor or accommodations coordinator at


So have fun this winter and most importantly try to keep warm!




Adapted from University of New Brunswick and ILAC