Avoiding winter windchill

Marlena shares tips on how to stay warm during the winter season.



YouAlberta is written by students for students.

Marlena (she/her) is in her third year of English and History major in the Faculty of Arts. Originally from Vancouver, Marlena joined the U of A from B.C. last year; however, her family is originally from Germany. She plans to study in the After Degree Education program to become a teacher once she completes her BA. Outside of school, she is a busy bee dedicating her time to volunteering and work. Marlena escapes the buzz by taking time to read, listen to music, walk her three dogs, watch movies and discover Edmonton’s cafe scene. She prefers Rutherford South for its quiet atmosphere and historical architecture.

As the winter season is fast approaching, the temperatures are steadily dropping. Originally from Vancouver, B.C., last year was my first winter in Edmonton. As such, I had to learn to adapt and stay warm in the chilly temperatures. Here are some of the tricks and tips I learned to stay comfortable.

Check weather conditions 

Before I plan out what to wear for the day, I find it helpful to check my weather forecast app for any updates and the temperature for the day. However, I have noticed that Edmonton weather forecasts can be very unpredictable, and the weather can unexpectedly change. Consequently, I pack all the necessary cozy essentials to prepare for the day ahead. 


Ensuring proper clothing layers is crucial to staying warm against the Edmonton windchill. Starting with a simple first layer as a t-shirt or tank beneath a hoodie or sweater can go a long way. I have discovered that adding a polar fleece sweater as an additional layer effectively shields me from the chill of winter. The outer layers serve as a barrier against the wind, providing an extra layer of protection from the cold. A well-insulated and warm winter coat acts as a wind-resistant layer and helps maintain a comfortable temperature in blustery conditions. 

Proper footwear

The appropriate footwear is essential to not only keep your feet warm but also prevent you from slipping on icy surfaces. As someone who has experienced the hazards of black ice, shoes or snow boots with grip are the most effective. If, by chance, you find yourself wearing flat shoes on an icy day, remember to  “walk like a Penguin” to minimize the risk of slipping. Non-flat shoes, like winter shoes, provide better traction that reduces the risk of falling and keeps the feet comfortably warm. Take it from me: it is a terrible feeling to find your feet soaked and freezing from stepping in a pile of snow! Investing in quality winter footwear is an important step to ensuring comfortability, safety and warmth. 

Warm accessories 

Conventional winter accessories like gloves, scarves and toques are obvious choices. However, pocket heaters and heating socks are also helpful. As someone who suffers from cold hands, I find that pocket heaters are very beneficial. They provide an instant heat source (especially when waiting for the bus) and are reusable. The reusable pocket heaters can be more cost-effective in the long run compared to disposable alternatives. But, it is important to remember that they are not a substitute for proper winter clothing. 

For eyeglass wearers, it is important to be aware that when wearing glasses in the cold and then entering a warm building, they will fog up. While this can be annoying, with a glass cloth on hand, you can quickly wipe the condensation away. Alternatively, you can wait until the glasses adjust to the room temperature, and the fog will disappear on its own. 

Warm drinks are also helpful in maintaining body heat. I prefer to carry a thermos with hot beverages like tea or coffee to help raise my internal body temperature. However, there are numerous cafe locations on North Campus to purchase a hot drink. Also, holding the hot beverage inadvertently acts as a hand warmer. 

Keep moving 

As someone who is consistently outside waiting for the bus, it is important to use the bus shelters that combat the cold. Avoiding prolonged exposure to the extreme cold is beneficial to your well-being. As such, I recommend opting to travel by the pedways as an alternative to minimize exposure to harsh weather conditions. However, in situations where there is no escape from the Edmonton windchill, it is important to stay in motion. Engaging in physical activity generates heat and helps keep you warm. Even simply pacing back and forth as you wait for the bus can go a long way.  

By staying vigilant and maintaining your body heat against the changing weather conditions, you can ensure that you stay warm and safe during Edmonton’s snowy winters.

See more tips on Winter in Edmonton.