My regular icy winter walking routine has been quite challenging this year. It doesn’t take much to slip, slide and perhaps, fall.
In recent years, I have gotten into the habit of taking two walks a day. I have a few routes around the neighborhood, some on walking paths, others on sidewalks. Each of my walks is around 45 minutes.
Walking is decent exercise, a chance for fresh air and meeting the neighbors (and their dogs). Listening to audio books on my iPod helps the time pass quickly. Cold weather is not a big deal until about -15º C: my winter parka helps a lot!
But ice is something else. Our past few years have created very icy winter walking conditions, and this winter has been really bad.
In Calgary, with out frequent chinooks, temperatures will drop below freezing at night, and rise above freezing during the day. So, lots of weather with temperatures bouncing between -10º and +10º C. So, our snow melts to water during the day, and freezes into ice at night. Add to this frequent light snow.
Since most homes are graded to enable water runoff towards the street, snow on our lawns melts and runs off to the sidewalk, where the ice forms. This year, our icy winter walking conditions have been particularly treacherous.
Icy Winter Walking and Homeowners
Like many cities, our local “public service” collects taxes but does not clear sidewalks. In Calgary, we as homeowners are required to keep our sidewalks clear. This year, our city has fined thousands of homeowners for not maintaining their sidewalks.
Based on my experience, I would say about 75% of the people do a decent job on shoveling snow, but most don’t really tackle the ice. Although, to be fair, many will sprinkle sand, which helps.
Clearing icy sidewalks is hard work and requires special tools, not just a shovel.
So, I wear my heavy winter boots with strong grips and spend a lot of time looking down during my icy winter walking. Avoiding falls is important as you grow older, like me, unfortunately.