12 things that will help you have a better winter (even if you don't want to think about them)

Old Man Winter can be a crank, but you don't have to be

It's official: Winter has begun! The weather we saw in late fall was just the opening act for a main attraction that not many hope to see stick around for long.

The season comes with its challenges, including everything from frozen vehicles to how to dress when it's -40 C with the windchill. Fortunately, a crack team of NAIT alumni and instructors are here to offer advice and tips to help you cope (and maybe even enjoy winter)!

1. Switch to winter tires

The biggest benefit from winter tires is stopping distance, says Automotive Services Technician instructor Darren Jones (class of '91). At 50 km/h, it takes 18 metres to stop on winter tires instead of 27 metres with all season. Learn what makes the difference.

2. Check your furnace

If your furnace konks out at 10 p.m. in -30 C weather, you have a problem. NAIT alum Nick Weran  (Sheet Metal Worker ’01) explains what you need to do if the heat stops flowing.

3. Drive for the road conditions

Reduce your risk of an accident by following these 5 winter driving tips from Automotive Service Technician instructor Dan Brochu  (Bachelor of Business Administration ’16, Automotive Service Technician ’81).

4. Improve your snow shovelling technique (to prevent injury)

Shovelling snow can be a good workout, but it can also be hard on your back and heart. Fortunately, Personal Fitness Trainer instructor Tim Just shows how to shovel the right way, minimizing the risk of injury.

5. Just get a snow blower

Single-stage? Two? Three? What kind of snow blower would you need for your space and conditions? With all the options on the market, techlifetoday spoke with Continuing Education small engine repair instructor Mark Gratzfeld (Marine Service Technician ’90) to find out what to consider with power-assisted snow removal.

6. Dress right for the cold

In a province where skin can freeze in minutes, proper coverage is key. From head to toe, here’s advice School of Skilled Trades instructor Nicole Mahoney (Ironworker ’06) offers from her experience working in the worst of winter weather.

7. Make sure your vehicle starts in the cold

There's nothing worse than an engine that won't turn over while you're freezing in the cold darkness of winter. Automotive Service Technician chair Russell Belik (class of '92) shares key steps to keep you motor running.

8. Be prepared for a roadside emergency

If you end up in the ditch during a road trip, you’ll be fine, right? You pay for a roadside assistance program – just make a call and you’ll be up and running in no time. Not always. When help isn't immediately on the way, follow these tips from  Disaster and Emergency Management and Centre for Applied Disaster and Emergency Management instructors Ian Foss and Paul Prevost. 

9. Wash your vehicle

Yes you can, and should, wash your car – even in a deep freeze! Auto Body Technician chair Scott Sinclair (class of '93) shares how.

10. Decrease heat loss from your home

There are few things as comforting as sitting in a cozy room, a mug of hot something cradled in your hands, gazing out the window at a glittering midwinter landscape. To  keep it that way,  here are six common heat-loss culprits in your home and ways to deal with them, from  Construction Engineering Technology instructor Kenneth Williams.

11. Exercise outdoors

Five or six months – a typical Alberta winter – is a long time to spend indoors. As a veteran triathlete, Personal Fitness Trainer instructor Dr. Ken Riess (Marketing ’91) does his best to brave the elements while exercising. Here are his tips on how you can too.

12. May yourself a great cup of hot chocolate

Get ready for a lot of milk, a lot of cream and a lot of chocolate. But you deserve it! Try this recipe from  Culinary Arts instructor Nigel Webber (Cook ’94) and all its sweet, steamy goodness will leave you thinking the winter may not be so bad after all.

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