No, not really.
It may be cold outside but the inside of buidings are always very warm. When we were flying in, one of my worst fears was that it would be an unseasonably warm spring with no snow. No valid reason to think so except that I have the worst luck in the world for things like this so I constantly expect them. You can imagine my thrill when I heard the pilot announce that Calgary was expecting snow flurries and the temperature was minus 21 degrees Celcius. I even asked Wayne if that was an error; nope, -21 it was.
I thought that would be cold and I thought I knew cold. After all, I had learnt to ski in Europe and I had lived there as well. Really, though, I had no idea. Wayne’s dad and stepmother picked us up from the airport and they had brought coats with them, knowing we would have anything warm enough. As soon as we stepped into the arrival area I noticed that everybody was wearing coats, hats and often gloves, with no attempt to look fashionable or trendy. Even the short, en-coated walk to the carpark was noticeably colder than anything i had previously experienced, sort of like walking from a Perth summer’s day into a deep freeze room.
In the car ev erybody continued to wear their coats and gloves although it was warmer. Obviously there was some sort of heating but not enough to make you feel hot as such, just to make you feel comfortable. i was assured that this was unseasonable for this time of year and that it would continue to be cold for the next fews days and that they were expecting it to get down to minus 45 with the wind chill factor.
Now there’s another thing I’ve always paid little attention to – wind chill factor. Yes, it does make a HUGE difference in that sort of cold, as I was to find out. We were staying at the home of Wayne’s sister, who has a very large house. At the time she and her husband were in the mountains for the weekend, skiing at their cabin up there, so we had the whole place to ourselves. being very , very tired we decided to go for a walk to get some dinner that night and when I say ‘we decided’ I mean that i had to push Wayne into it as he was rather reluctant.
When he eventually agreed, he supervised my getting dressed. Long thermal underwear, thick socks, long sleeves, scarf, hat, coat, gloves. i felt like the Michelin Man when I was eventually dressed. But when we at at last stepped outside it became immediately apparently why it was necessary to be so covered.
My nose and my cheekbones were the only bits of flesh exposed and they immediately started to hurt with the cold. I could feel the nose hairs inside my nostrils freeze up instantly. My exhalations onto my scarf froze into frost. We walked for maybe fifteen minutes and I can honestly say that if we had walked any longer I would have got frostnip/bite in those exposed areas. I could see why people die in those conditions.
We’ve tried to go for a walk each day but sometimes it is just too cold, no matter how many layers you put on. sometimes you can manage it if you don’t walk into the wind. any breeze, no matter how slight, will instantly lower the temperature by another ten to fifteen degrees. It is too cold to snow here, even.
The houses are very warm, however, and people mostly wear light layers indoors. Except in shops. I’ve noticed that shopping places are kept a lot cooler than the places we have at home, presumably because everybody is wearing coats and doesn’t want to be carrying them around; instead they unzip and stuff gloves and hat into a pocket. You wear coat, gloves and hat everywhere you go, even if you are only walking five metres to your car.
Oh, and every car carried spare gloves and hats and coats and an icescraper. All public transport areas that I’ve seen have little enclosed glass boxes for people to shelter in whilst they wait for their bus or train to arrive. Downtown Calgary has a whole series of linked, glassed in, heated walkways above the ground, called 15+’s (no idea why – maybe 15 metres off the ground, although they aren’t all at the same level) so that you can walk everywhere without once having to go into the cold.
Going to finish now with editing as driving up to Kelowna. Forgive typos but wanted to get it out there first as no internet for a while.