Calgary

Cold can't keep Calgarians from enjoying the outdoors

While some Calgarians are riding out the cold snap by hiding under a blanket indoors with a book or tablet, others aren’t letting the frigid temperatures stop them from enjoying the great outdoors.

Skiers hit the slopes at Canada Olympic Park while skaters were out on the lagoon at Bowness Park

Deepa Saini, a visitor from Brisbane, Australia, gets warm by the fire while skating with her children at Bowness Park. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

While some Calgarians are riding out this week's cold snap by hiding under a blanket indoors with a book or tablet, others aren't letting the frigid temperatures stop them from enjoying the great outdoors.

And the key to keeping warm is a seemingly simple one — dressing in layers.

"It's freezing, it's really cold, I can't take my hand out of my gloves," said Deepa Saini, a visitor from Brisbane, Australia who took her kids skating at Bowness Park.

"We've got four or five layers of clothing on."

The cold weather didn't keep skiers and snowboarders from hitting the slopes at Canada Olympic Park on Thursday, including Riley Browning and Muge Bulat.

Riley Browning and Muge Bulat braved the cold and hit the slopes at Canada Olympic Park on Thursday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

"It's supposed to be nicer next week but we just couldn't wait so we're here enjoying the hill," said Browning.

"The snow is actually pretty good despite the cold. After a couple of runs I like to go warm up, but all in all it's a good day."

Cold spell is not fun and games for all

It's not fun and games for everyone outside, however.

It can be dangerous for those living rough on the streets when temperatures dip far below zero and that means a full house at places like the Calgary Drop In Centre.

Spokesman Tyler Hallett says they will make room in this kind of inclement weather, which sees the organization housing 1,100 or more people per night.

"This is such a cold place to live," he said. "When numbers are starting to plunge below -30 C... no-one can be out on the street, so we always make room."

Clients at the Calgary Drop In Centre remain indoors to keep warm during the cold snap. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

The further the temperature drops, the more the need for things like warm clothes and toiletries goes up, says Shauna Rivait, volunteer coordinator at the Drop In Centre.

"Anything, basically, that normal Calgarians would take for granted when you go outside: boots, hats, mitts, that kind of thing," she said.

"And we've seen a marked increase in that need since October."

Keeping everyone occupied and entertained while being stuck inside can be its own challenge, said Rivait.

"It's more so, not necessarily just the cold, it's the time of year," she said. "It's an emotional time of year, everyone wants to be with family, they want to be cared for and they want to feel like they belong and it's something we try and be inclusive for our clients."

According to the Environment Canada forecast on Thursday, the temperature is expected to remain in the -20s C until Sunday then rise to -2 C on Monday, reach 2 C on Tuesday, and a balmy 8 C on Wednesday.

With files from Colleen Underwood

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