Before visiting Colorado we had never seen more than a light dusting of snow. So seeing FEET of snow pretty much blew our minds and was a big determining factor for our move across the country! However, after a life of no seasons, it took a lot of adjustments for these Florida kids to get used to snowy winters. But I’m happy to say, through lots of trial and error, we have gotten pretty damn good at surviving snow. (At least Colorado’s version of it).
3 Steps to Surviving Snow and Embracing Winter
Contrary to what other Floridians may believe, snow does not instantly turn the world into a frozen tundra of apocalyptic danger. It is indeed possible to continue normal every day activities if it is snowing outside. And even enjoy it (gasp)!
Surviving snow is easy, just follow these 3 simple(ish) steps and you too can be a snow pro!
Step 1: Gear Up with the Winter Essentials!
Kiss your savings goodbye if this is your first winter, because surviving snow isn’t cheap. But rest assured that you won’t have to buy gear again for quite a while, as long as you get the winter essentials.
Winter Clothing Essentials
Make sure to invest in good waterproof boots, jackets and pants, plus beanies, wool socks and, of course, gloves! End of season sales and outlet malls will be your new best friend. Do some research on brands to make sure you are getting good quality gear for your winter essentials. (Check out our winter gear here).
Snow Tires & Vehicle Must-Haves
You will even need to grab the winter essentials for your vehicle. Snow or studded tires may be necessary, and possibly required depending on where you plan to go in the winter. (I-70, which goes to many ski resorts, requires them in the winter). We usually switch to snow tires after the first snow, just as an extra precaution.
However, an ice scraper and snow brush are a must to keep in your car. Even if you have the luxury of parking in a garage at night, you may walk out of work to a foot of snow on your car. And you do not want to be stuck using your hands! Even in summer we keep the scraper and brush in the car, especially when taking a drive to the mountains.
(PRO TIP: Make sure your windshield wipers are off when you turn off your car. I have had a few feet of snow dumped in my lap on many occasions when sitting down to turn on my car. Better yet, lift your wipers up so they don’t get frozen stuck and it is easier to scrape your windshield. Oh, and make sure you have windshield wiper fluid that won’t freeze!)
Step 2: Plan Ahead & Be Safe!
Check the weather on a regular basis in the winter. Sometimes it is better to just stay home if there is going to be a really bad snow storm. Trust me, you don’t want to be driving during white-out conditions. And make sure to check traffic too, in case a road on your normal route gets closed or there is a bad accident. Check current road alerts here.
It is also key to give yourself plenty of time to get to work and other appointments. Take into account warming up your car, scraping the windshield and driving way slower than usual in most-likely bad traffic. Feeling rushed can make an already difficult drive way more stressful. Believe me, I was running late for three months straight during my first winter.
Practice Driving in Snow and Ice
If you have never driven in snow or ice, you may want to take a winter driving class. Or at the very least, practice in an empty parking lot before going out driving in adverse conditions.
I’m still far from a pro, but I’ve learned a few things through experience:
- Stay off your phone and focus on driving
- Give yourself plenty of time and space to brake at stop lights
- Never slam on your brakes
- Drive slow but not too slow
- Watch for other people who may lose control of their cars
- Don’t go right when the light turns green, make sure nobody is sliding through the intersection
- Leave plenty of room between you and other cars
Luckily, in Colorado (and many other places) there is an awesome bus system if driving is just too scary!
Some more winter safety tips: If you are going on any outdoor adventures, make sure to tell someone where you are going. Also, know your trail so you don’t get lost, wear proper gear, bring food and drink plenty of water. You will also want a bag that can fit some of your gear in case you get too hot and want to take some off. This has happened to me too many times to count… even in the negatives. That Colorado sun is super hot!
Step 3: Embrace Winter!
Don’t let my warnings scare you away from experiencing the wonders of winter. There is nothing like getting to live in your very own snow globe! I cry tears of joy every single year when we get our first snow. It is just so beautiful. And it truly gets me in the Christmas spirit like nothing else. Getting to see those snow-covered mountains on my drive to work is just perfect. You just need to fully embrace winter and enjoy it!
And surprisingly, at least in Colorado, there are actually many days that are quite warm even when snow is still on the ground!
Plus, there is SO MUCH TO DO in winter! Go snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, skiing or snowboarding, have a snowball fight, build a snowman or an igloo, or just sip hot cocoa (or my favorite – Gluhwein) by the window as you watch the snow fall. No matter what you do, just make sure you find your own way of enjoying it because winter is too awesome to be wasted.
Did I miss any key tips for surviving a snowy winter? Make sure to comment!