When I tell new non-central British Columbia acquaintances that I’m from Prince George, one of the invariable reactions is along the lines of, “Brrrr! How can you bear the winter?” Yes, we have winter; and yes, it gets chilly. But it’s not as bad as you think! And there are a lot of upsides to it! Let’s dispel some myths and share some of those positives now.
So you’ve looked at your weather app and see it’s -24 degrees Celsius (-36 with the wind chill). Yep, that’s cold. But put it in perspective. It is dry up here. When you’re in Vancouver, and the temp drops to -10, you get that chilly dampness that seeps into your bones making you want to take a bath in hot chicken noodle soup (oh, just me?). But in Prince George, -20s or -30s just means you add another layer, and you’re good to go. There are no chilly wet fingers tickling your spine (because it’s wrapped tightly in merino wool coziness).
The fashion opportunities
Speaking of merino wool, living in Prince George, you have the perfect excuse to buy up all of the high end toques, mittens, and puffy coats that you’ve ever desired. Because you’ll need them. And you’ll wear them. You have to.
Our winters are the most beautiful season of the year. There’s the snow and the snow covered trees and the frosty fields, but the sunshine! It’s not the dreary overcast winter you have conjured in your mind – when it’s cold out, our sun shines strong in a beautiful clear ice blue sky. The cold and the sunshine make for some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets (read: spectacular pink/purple/gold etc. skylines) that I’ve ever seen. And as an extension of the sunshine and our long, dark winter nights, two words: Northern Lights. You will see some beautiful light shows in the sky up here.
The outdoor activities
So we’ve established it’s cold, you look good, and it’s beautiful out – but the fun fact about winter in Prince George is that we don’t spend the whole six or so months hiding inside – we embrace it and get outside. There’s so much to do:
- Skiing and snowboarding at one of four local hills (one of which is even within city limits!)
- Cross-country skiing at Otway (the Nordic Winter Festival is coming up on January 15 by the way – a great opportunity to try cross-country skiing for the first time, or take in some other wintry fun! I attended this event a few years ago and it was fantastic!)
- Ice skating at the outdoor oval at CN Centre
- Snowshoeing on so many amazing trails found both in city limits or out (but some still as close as 15 minutes away from downtown!)
- Winter wildlife viewing
- The list goes on!
When I say we embrace the winter, I mean it. We even have an annual winter music festival called Coldsnap, and we’ve been known to stand for hours outside in February listening to free outdoor concerts. We also have two great hockey teams that you can spend your winters cheering for – the BCHL’s Spruce Kings and WHL’s Cougars.
So all this goes to show that our winters aren’t scary or intimidating – and can actually become your most favourite time of year!