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Wolf Sgt Kirke
05-12-2007, 11:58
right i'm off to calgary for christmas, seriously how cold is it gonna be compared to germany or the uk? is it best to buy my cold weather stuff there or before i go?
cheers for the help - also merry xmas!

Andyalloverdaplace
05-12-2007, 15:57
Good Question,
Calgary gets all sorts of weather, and it changes on a dime. I'd pack for the worst case, which should be -30 C and windy. Good gloves, a good hat, something for your face, and long johns, in addition to a windproof coat, and several sweaters, as well as a pair of hiking boots and some warm socks.

Most items can be bought reasonably cheap in Canada at hardware stores (people who have to work outside need cheap, durable, warm clothing), such as Marks Work Warehouse and Canadian Tire. The layers approach means that if it isn't -30 C you won't be sweating up a storm. It could be above freezing just as easily. Right now it's about -20 overnight and -10 in the day in Edmonton (3 hours away).

A good question is, what are you doing in Calgary? Going skiing in the mountains imposes different requirements than going to the mall. If you are just staying in the city, being able to cover your entire body (including your face, but not your eyes) with reasonably warm, windproof clothing, should be enough for any cold you might experience driving around town, going to the mall and such. Long Johns are overkill unless you are going to wait for a bus for half an hour or something like that outdoors in -30, since once you get inside you'll be dying of heat.

The good news is that the humidity will be low, so you don't get the wet clumpy snow and you aren't as easily soaked by sweat just walking around. If you have dry skin issues, you'll want to bring something for that though, as the humidity indoors is practically zero.

I'll be going near Calgary at Christmas, and since I'm driving, I'll have my parka in the car, gloves, a touque, hiking boots, and probably my ski gear as well, since I'm probably going to ski, but I'm also going to be on the highway, and have been in the ditch for six hours once in a winter storm. If the weather gets really bad, your hosts will probably bring extra stuff to the airport just in case, and you'll probably spend more time indoors.

verydarkshadow
05-12-2007, 16:15
right i'm off to calgary for christmas, seriously how cold is it gonna be compared to germany or the uk? is it best to buy my cold weather stuff there or before i go?
cheers for the help - also merry xmas!

You'd probably get your winter gear cheaper in Canada, especially if you're changing over from UK pounds. I'd buy it over here.

Also, being in the centre of Canada calgary tends to get much colder than the UK. I'm not sure about Germany though. I'd say -20 would be about average, but you could hit as low as -40 with wind... but then I'm in Sask, so its just an approximation.

Andyalloverdaplace
05-12-2007, 17:09
You'd probably get your winter gear cheaper in Canada, especially if you're changing over from UK pounds. I'd buy it over here.

Also, being in the centre of Canada calgary tends to get much colder than the UK. I'm not sure about Germany though. I'd say -20 would be about average, but you could hit as low as -40 with wind... but then I'm in Sask, so its just an approximation.

The trick is that if theres a Chinook blowing through, it'll be reasonably warm (when the Winter Olympics were held 20 years ago, the snow kept melting off the venues in January, then it hit -20 when the games arrived, and a cold wind, I was skiing that weekend). You are right though, Calgary would be quite a bit colder than the UK, and from the look of it, colder than the alps as well.

Since you're a British soldier (according to your profile) maybe ask within the unit about recommended kit for a trip to CFB Suffield, which is a few hours east of Calgary, and a commonwealth training base, if you are planning on being outdoors.

Here's the weather offices 5 day forecast for Calgary

http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/ab-52_metric_e.html

If you are just buying clothes for a brief stay, you might want to go to goodwill or value village and get something cheap that you can leave behind. You might want to see if your hosts can lend you a parka if things get cold, they tend to be pricy to buy, but are the best coats for cold weather, other than a snowmobile suit.

Zink
05-12-2007, 17:34
A perfect example of Calgary weather is a ski trip my wife and I took 2 years ago. On the way through Calgary to Banff it was +12 on the prairies. Stayed for 5 days in Banff and had a great time. The day we left it was -30 or less across most of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Other people have given you some good advice. What you need will be totally dependant on what kind of activities you'll be doing and if you'll be outside lots. A lot of city people I know rarely dress warmly because they're running from buildings to vehicles and back quickly. But if you'll be outside a lot you may need something more.

thegnome
05-12-2007, 22:09
I'll toss in another weather forecast that I prefer to the government one: The Weather Network (http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/caab0049).

Like people are saying, the key is to be prepared. If you can get a parka with a removable lining, that'll be the most versatile. Don't underestimate how cold it might get, and make sure to have proper cold-weather accessories with you. Have fun, an Alberta winter can be a pretty enjoyable occasion.

One more thing: watch out for road conditions, especially on the Deerfoot Trail. It can be genuinely terrifying on a good day.

Andyalloverdaplace
05-12-2007, 22:15
Sheesh, I'd hate to see the deerfoot on a bad day....

:)

Wolf Sgt Kirke
11-12-2007, 09:17
many thanks for all the advice - my girl ended up saying all the same stuff, she lives in dalhousie - i don't know if thats near the deerfoot, but she knows her stuff, i should be good - good to get some idea of what i'll be facing from you guys, once again cheers and merry xmas!