Here are a couple of things I have learned in the last few days where we have six inches of snow, an outside temperature of -29C (-20F) and little humidity:

  • If you have a fresh layer of snow, and you are still at work, be prepared to walk because the bus service will be impacted. Forty minutes walk by -10C (14F) is not that bad even with snow.
  • When driving downhill and braking using ABS, don't expect to stop without sliding for twenty yards or so.
  • Plan for a meter clearance around your vehicle when manoeuvering at slow speed because your car is bound to slide even when you do a simple three points turn in a street. This make parallel parking more interesting and obstacle avoidance more fun.
  • Don't forget to plug in your car so that the oil does not coalesce.
  • If you have some single pane windows because you live in an older house, expect ice on the inside of the window.
  • You may not be able to open your back door fully because of the snow.
  • Be prepared to shovel snow for one hour to comply with city bylaws.
  • Expect a lot of static electricity when petting your cat.
  • Don't touch snow without gloves
  • Enjoy the Subaru Outback, because it makes driving in cold weather and snow so much fun and safe.
  • Calgarians start to consider -20C weather somewhat cold but explain to you that it will get colder.

Overall, I found those new experiences very enjoyable and the biggest drawback is the time you have to spend dressing up and down when you leave or enter the house. Once outside, you don't want to realize that you forgot something inside.

Right now, Houston and Calgary have the same temperature outside if you ignore the pesty minus sign.