Preparing for the prairie winters

A beautiful view, but looks like you’re about to miss your bus. Holly Funk

Winter is coming. Are you ready?

Thanksgiving has sadly come and gone. Do you know what that means? I’ll give you a hint. Thanksgiving is the first big holiday after the summer holidays, to give you a chance to get together with your family and eat lots of food – whether it be turkey, ham, or apple or pumpkin pie. Now, what does that signal? That the winter and cold months are heading our way.                    

Thanksgiving is the sign and the start of the “hibernation” season for us Canadians. That means it is time to start preparing for the prairie winters, and I am going to talk about exactly that. Here, I am going to talk about all the tips and tricks that you need to get fully ready for the prairie winters, so you can be well-prepared.

My first big tip is to go through your closet and organize your clothes, and ensure that you have all the gear that you need. I mean winter jackets, snow pants, boots, mittens, toques, scarves, and the basic outer layer essentials. Why am I looking for all the outdoor gear so early, you may ask? Frankly, it has been known that this stuff comes into stores fast and sells out fast, before you know it.

Ensure that you try on the gear. That way, you know that it fits comfortably, and you can debate on buying new gear if needed or can keep your eyes open through these upcoming weeks for something better. You can frankly always find mittens and toques. But, let’s be real, it can never be too early to have those on hand. I was already contemplating wearing mittens early last week when we had that crazy wind blowing at 50 km/h.

Now that our outer gear is all in order and we know what to expect for clothing, what else should you expect when the winter season comes? Frankly, I know that it may sound a little weird, but I have noticed over the many years of living in Saskatchewan that your diet or eating habits may also change come the winter months. What do you typically eat in the summer months? Does it often consist of a burger with fries, a light salad with some protein, or a sandwich with chips on the side? 

Well, it has appeared to me over the years that when the temperature is cold, you start to crave whole foods to help “warm” your insides. So that burger and fries may turn into a roast beef sandwich with some steaming gravy on the side to dip into, or that salad may turn into a stir fry with a protein and hot sauce, or that sandwich now may be sided with some warm soup to help comfort your insides. If this food sounds appetizing to you, spend some extra time over these next couple of weeks to prep meals or stock up on some goods.

So far, you have learned how to ensure that your body is warm by having proper outer gear, and also your insides with some whole foods. Now that you know a bit about how to prepare for the prairie winter, let’s talk about some activities that you get the chance to enjoy in these winter months to stop scaring you about what is about to come. It’s always better to be able to say and think to yourself “Ahh, yes, it’s that time of the year again!”

A few of the best activities that I personally enjoy in the winter months include ice fishing on the lakes, ice skating (trust me, you do not have to be good at ice skating to enjoy it occasionally), having a nice hot chocolate while reading a book, and lastly, the chance to go skiing or snowboarding. Now, we may not have the most outstanding mountains like Banff, but we are close by, and we do have some killer hills that still offer that feeling of ripping through some snow on your way down. Be sure to check out Mission Ridge; this seems to be a well-known location close to Regina.

So, I have talked to you about how to prepare for the winter months by having proper winter gear, eating whole foods, and doing some fun activities that you can enjoy during these prairie winter months. Just remember these prairie winter months are not always the worst, and they will most likely only last for 8-10 months. What’s the worst that could happen? Guess we will see in these upcoming weeks.


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