Unless you want to become a winter recluse or shut-in, eventually you are going to have to get brave and attempt to walk around through Calgary’s ice and snow. Winter trekking need not be a daunting task…it just requires a little forethought that summer living doesn’t. At Mirage Landscaping, Calgary’s most well-known commercial and residential landscaping maintenance and design firm, we break paths all over Calgary while serving our clients’ snow removal needs. What we’ve learned about slipping and falling may be of use to you in remaining upright for the rest of winter.
Wear the Right Stuff
Whether young or old, a fall on the concrete, or even upon the ice or snow itself, can result in serious injuries like concussions, broken bones or joint injuries. The most important preventative measure you can take against an unwanted outdoor slip and fall is to wear effective winter footwear. Pick boots with a rubberized sole, traction grooves for biting into both snow and ice, and with a short heel, plus enough height to keep snow from getting in the tops. As for your other clothing choices, we’ve discussed what to wear while active in winter weather before. Just remember that if you are paying more attention to how cold you are than to your footing, you could wind up contemplating your next move from the flat of your back. If your chosen walk is in the afternoon or at night, the poorer winter light at our parallel means that you and the pooch should both wear something with reflective properties in order to stay visible to traffic.
What You See is Usually What You Get
A mountain climber carefully places his or her feet with every step because they are negotiating a treacherous surface featuring a high stakes fall. In a walk during Calgary’s winters, you need to essentially do the same thing. In short, if a place on the ground looks shiny or slick, it most likely is. Be especially careful. And since we at Mirage perform snow removal for some very large properties, our personal favourite tip is to carry a lightweight baggie of cat litter, de-icing agent or grit in your pocket to spread upon particularly troublesome-looking spots when you need to.
No matter what a surface looks like, the proof is in that first step. Facing an icy surface, particularly if you are prone to bone breakage in a fall, can be a dreadful decision. It becomes a decision between your freedom to go where you wish to and your ultimate safety. What should your decision be when confronted by a slick patch too big to easily avoid? Think about your approach. Whether you are facing the steps up to Calgary’s City Hall, or a descent down to a frozen pond, keeping your body in a loose yet ready posture is your best practice. Keep your hands out of your pockets for added balance. Spread your feet to as close to shoulder width as you are comfortable walking with to give your body a wide base of support. Point your toes outward about 25 to 30 degrees, rather like a cross-country skier uses a “herringbone” step to climb uphill with slick boards strapped to their feet. The point of all of this is to keep your centre of gravity located above your base of support no matter what the surface conditions are.
Should you feel off-balance, the idea is to keep your knees flexed to be able to react, without overreacting to any particular misstep. Remember to keep your steps small. By limiting the length of your stride on icy surfaces, you limit the possibility of your feet getting out from under you. People often call this the “penguin shuffle.”
Make Your Winter Wonderland Safer
We can’t spare you from every last Calgary slick spot, but we can save you from your own. Call us at Mirage Landscaping for a free quote about your snow removal and de-icing needs.