Alberta has very cold winters. The coldest months have lows around -20°C, (or lower!), with 10 to 25 cm of snow. This can feel even colder with wind-chill. To stay warm, you need to wear the right clothing and footwear.


Prepare for the worst but be ready for anything.

Wear winter clothing made for the coldest temperatures, such as long underwear and wool socks.

Choose wool over cotton. Cotton dries very slowly compared to wool. Wet fabric can pull heat away from your body, so it’s important to stay dry.

Dress differently depending on which activity you’ll be doing outdoors. If you’ll be standing still, layer heavier items. If you’ll be exercising, lighter layers may be a better option.

Start with a base, such as long underwear. Add a few layers of clothing under a windproof or waterproof coat. A winter coat is essential.

Keep your head, face, and hands warm. Wear a wool toque, scarf, and mittens. Gloves are another option, although mittens tend to be warmer.

Invest in winter boots. Although they can be expensive, they can keep your feet warm in temperatures as low as -30°C. Try to find boots that are lined with wool or fleece, and have a Gore-Tex or water resistant outer shell.

Winter gear is worth it, but can be expensive. Try checking out thrift stores for used winter clothing. Another option, if you need it, is to get a winter coat from a charitable organization. To find out about available winter clothing programs near you, contact 211.


An inexpensive way to help keep warm is to buy heat packs for your hands and feet, which fit well into mittens and boots. Wheat bags stay warm for 20-30 minutes. They can be heated over and over again in the microwave. You can make your own by filling a sock with uncooked rice and tying a not in the top.

Eat! Your body needs fuel to stay warm.

Get enough sleep each night (7-8 hours for adults, 9-10 hours for teenagers, 10 hours for children). Not getting enough sleep can make you more likely to catch a cold.