Surviving Winter 101

By Alexandre Darche


Please excuse the Buzzfeed-style article, but it’s the best way to get this point across. As a Montrealler, I’ll be the first to tell you that our winters suck. You’ll look outside at 4pm and the sun will be long gone. Your clothes will be covered in salt stains from drivers spraying you with slush. The wind on -40 Celsius days will burn any uncovered skin. For some of you, this may be your first time experiencing this terrible season. For others, you may have barely survived it due to lack of proper preparation. Here are a few things you could do to have a pleasant transition from the cozy colours of fall to the frostbitten hell of winter.


1 – Go on a ski trip


Skiing is the best way to get some exercise outdoors during the Quebec winter months. Take a bus out of town in the morning with some friends and head to Mont Tremblant or Bromont for the day. If you’ve never skied, no problem! Skiing is a lot more fun as a beginner as you tumble down the powdered snow while your friends watch from below and laugh at your expense. Ski hills offer cheap equipment rental and hour long beginner lessons as well. Want to take advantage even more? Join one of the McGill ski clubs, who go every couple of weekends. The best part: you can run into the chalet after a long day of being out in the cold and enjoy a warm après-ski filled with hot chocolate, beer and poutine.


2 – Get Cuffed Up


Forget going outside, the winter months will keep you on lockdown indoors trying your best to stay warm and cozy. Many people, after stuffing their face with comfort foods and binge watching their 4th season of the Office in a week, get lonely. While you can’t avoid this (you really can’t), you can make it seem less desolated. Go out and find someone to join you for your Netflix and chill sessions throughout the winter. Not only will you be physically economical by sharing body warmth, but you can take turns running for snacks.


3 – Layers!


There are two approaches to dressing for the cold weather. The first is to take out a loan on an expensive, enormous jacket; the second is to layer up as much as possible. Throughout my many winters, I’ve experimented with both schools of thought and have found that layering works much better (and you look less like a big ball of coat.) What makes big coats annoying is the lack of a middle ground; either you’ll be too warm walking indoors with your puffy jacket or freezing wearing what you have under. Layering allows you to shed a layer or two and makes you ready for wherever you end up.


4 – Go to Igloofest


Montreal may be a city filled with festivals during the summer, but the city goes dormant when snow begins to fall. Luckily, the gods of EDM bless us with a 4 weekend outdoor electronic music festival. The premise is simple: everyone goes thrift shopping to find the most hideous, outdated snowsuits and gather to listen to loud EDM and dance around. The lineup often has a handful of standouts (the RL Grime and Just Blaze sets a few years back were incredible). The festival also includes trippy art instillations as well as an ice sculpted Jägermeister slide. It’s also the only place to get those flashy and trendy Igloofest toques everyone wears.


5 – Buy Boots


Every year I bump into someone who decides not to buy boots for the winter. I have had people run to my kitchen and put their feet in my sink to defrost them. While you may survive bootless for a while, there will come a time when you sink knee deep in snow or you take a misstep into a puddle. It sucks. Believe me. Please, just get a good pair of boots.



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