How to Prepare for Calgary Winter

If this is your first winter in Canada, you may be feeling unprepared and shocked by the bitter cold, the snow, and the icy conditions, especially if you have relocated from a warmer place.  Calgary has a incredibly cold, long winters, with a below zero degree average in November and an average temperature of -9 degrees celsius in January. Still, there are perks to Calgary winters. Calgary winter temperatures tend to be a bit warmer than other major prairie cities, and because of a phenomenon calls the Chinook Winds, the colder days will be broken up by warm dry days! When the warm, dry chinook winds sweep through, you can expect temperatures to rise by 20 degrees or more in only the span of a few hours. A -5-degree day can turn into a 15-degree day at the drop of a pin!  We at have put together some great tips for how to prepare for Calgary Winters. 

Prepare your house for Calgary winter

Is your hour ready for winter? One of the first places you will want to begin preparing for Calgary winter is right at home.  Ensuring that your home is properly insulated and snug will help keep you warm and cut heating costs. Check if your heating system is fully operational to avoid a bad surprise when it gets get really cold. For just a few dollars, you can invest in draft snakes, weather insulation film or rubber weather seal, which you can find at Rona or Canadian Tire. These solutions make sure the freezing cold won’t penetrate your house. Additionally, keep a heavy duty shovel on hand, and use it to clean off sidewalks and outdoors stairs for safety. Remember, always keep heat on in the winter, even if you go away for vacation, or you risk freezing and bursting water pipes in your home.

Prepare your car for Calgary winter

Calgary Winter

With snow, sleet and freezing rain comes  potentially dangerous driving conditions, so it’s important to have to prepare your car for winter. In Alberta putting winter tires on your vehicle is not mandatory, but they are strongly recommended, and can help you avoid slipping on the roads. You can buy winter tires in in most auto pars stores stores, or stores with auto departments. Some options are more affordable than others. We recommend Walmart, Costco, or Canadian Tire. You can install winter tires yourself, or go to a garage to let a professional do it.

Other ways to ensure your car is winter-ready include cleaning, flushing and putting new antifreeze in your vehicle, getting your brakes checked by a professional, ensuring that the exterior and interior lights work properly, and making sure the heaters, defrosters and wipers are in proper working order. You should also consider keeping a warm blanket in your car, just in case of an emergency!

Winter Clothes

Owning warm, high-quality winter clothes, like coats, wool hats, thick gloves or mittens, long underwear (aka long Johns) and wool socks, is crucial. A warm coat will protect you from the extreme cold, freezing wind, and the snowfall. Winter coats are usually expensive, but it is a vital investment because you will use it all winter for many years. For a good winter coat, count on spending least $200.  Additionally, you will need to invest in a good pair of winter boots to keep your feet warm as you walk on snowy sidewalks. For really good winter boots you will have to pay about from $80 to $100. You can find relatively affordable options for all  your winter clothing needs at stores like Sears, The Bay, and Winners.

In Canada, winter is a wonderful adventure that you have to be prepare for, and if you follow these tips for staying warm and safe, you will cut down your worrying tremendously, and you’ll be ready to enjoy Calgary’s beauty as it gets its white coat of snow! We all hope here at that you will enjoy prepare for Calgary winter!


Want to learn more about winter and climate in Canada? Sign up to and get full access to “The Guide”.  Read the “Climate & Geographical Adjustment” chapter for more information on this subject.

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(Photos: Davebloggs007; Land Rover Our Planet)


About Camille

I adore Paris, I really do. But who can pass up an exciting opportunity to explore North America? When I enrolled in a Canadian university, I experienced the differences between French culture in France and French culture in Canada. And there really are differences! For one, French Canadians speak French in their own way. The country is so vast and there are lots of opportunities to find a fulfilling career. While some cities feel like a mix of European and North American culture, others have a completely Canadian identity. And don’t get me started on the delicious, hearty food! The country is charming, laid back and full of life. I’m here to help ease your transition to Canadian living, and give you a few of my special insider tips. // J’adore Paris, vraiment, mais qui peut refuser une occasion formidable d’aller explorer l’Amérique du Nord. Lorsque je me suis inscrite dans une université canadienne, j’ai vécu les différences entre la culture française en France et la culture française au Canada et il y a vraiment beaucoup de différences ! Effectivement, les canadiens français parlent français à leur manière. Le pays est si vaste qu’il y a beaucoup d’opportunités pour réaliser une carrière enrichissante. Alors que plusieurs villes sont un mélange de la culture Européenne et Nord Américaine, d’autres sont typiquement canadiennes. Sans parler des mets délicieux et plutôt copieux ! C’est un pays charmant, décontracté et plein de vie. Je suis là pour vous aider à faciliter votre transition vers la vie canadienne et pour vous donner quelques un de mes conseils.