It’s the kind of cold that makes your fingers tingle and your nose numb in just minutes, as wind chill factors dip down to about -45 in parts of Alberta.
For those who make a living working outdoors, it’s a bitter cold they prepare for.
“The number one thing is making sure our people have the equipment that they need, the tools and the clothing to stay warm, that’s our number one priority,” said Jason Drenth, electric operations manager with the City of Lethbridge.
City electrical crews are called upon when an unplanned outage strikes during a deep freeze. With urgent need for furnaces to keep residents warm, crews plan ahead in order to manage working in the cold.
“We require additional breaks, more time within the truck staying warm, and rotating through shifts as needed. Non-essential work we don’t perform in this kind of weather,” added Drenth.
Ski hill staff at Castle Mountain also layer up to work in the extreme elements. The hill is staying open during the cold stretch, giving outdoor enthusiasts a place to escape.
“We do have a cold weather policy in place, which I expect most resorts would have, but we also have one of North America’s longest surface lifts, which is our T-bar.
“The great thing about a T-bar is that there is no evacuation process that needs to be in place in the event of mechanical issues,” said Cole Fawcett, sales and marketing manager with Castle Mountain Resort.
Fawcett said staff rotate shifts and bundle up to stay safe and they also watch for guests who might be having so much fun they don’t realize how exposed they might be.
“We are always on the lookout for guests or staff members who may be exhibiting signs of frost bite, usually in the facial region, with those white blotches or those blotchy spots,” Fawcett said.