We love to whine about the cold. From the first fluffy flake, it seems the memes begin to pop up on social media, and elevator chit-chat revolves around Alberta's vicious climate.
Complaints about shoddy snow removal begin to circulate, followed by side-eyed sneers at the neighbours who haven't yet shovelled – or worse, the ones who have shovelled, albeit onto the street.
Next, enter the grumbling about drivers who notoriously follow too closely; who speed on ice-covered, not-yet-sanded side streets; and who contribute to enough near-misses to give even the most confident winter drivers anxiety on the roads.
All are valid, warranted complaints.
But what if instead of lamenting our sub-zero climate as months we must painfully endure, we embrace the cold and all that comes with it?
For as many people there are out there who retreat and take cover for the icy half of each year, there are as many others who make the most of it and the opportunities winter can provide.
Yes, there are health risks to frigid conditions, and we would all do well to heed cold weather warnings and advisories.
However, low temperatures can be good for us, too.
Despite the well-studied scientific reasons, including improved cognitive function, increased ability to burn calories, and improved sleep, there are a plethora of other reasons to celebrate winter.
Hoar frost makes for gorgeous winter landscapes, a lovely backdrop for winter walks, and stunning amateur photography – not to mention the northern lights and their haunting beauty when they appear.
Snow offers a good base for low-impact sports such as cross-country skiing and ice skating. It also provides plenty of free, accessible surfaces on which to do both. Let's not forget the fun of tobogganing, creating snow angels, and building snowmen. There are many things to do rather than count the days until spring, if we choose to see each of those days as an opportunity instead of a curse.
And let's not forget that in winter, there are no mosquitos.