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moving from Australia to Canada

Travel Forums North America moving from Australia to Canada

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1. Posted by harlee (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

harlee has indicated that this thread is about Canada

G'day!

I'm packing up shop here in OZ and heading to canada in 6 days! Just after a few words of wisdom from people.

Firstly a bit of run through of what i'm doing;

I arrive in Vancouver in a week, i have 10 days there before i head up to Jasper where I have a job starting as a lift operator.

Basically what i'm after is advice on snowboarding clothing and gear for extreme cold temperatures, (i was told it was -20 degrees last night in Jasper!! already?) where to buy it and some price ranges. I'll be needing the whole package as I'm heading over pretty light.

Board (I'm a noob at boarding, only done it 3 times before, so it doesn't have to be the best most $$ one)
Boots (willing to spend a touch more on this because ill be in them so much)
Bindings (no idea)
Jacket
Pants
Gloves
Goggles
Thermals
Board Bag (for all of the above)

Shoes for general wear (like whats general shoe wear in Vancouver/Jasper/Cold Weather? I'll be arriving with a pair of thongs (flip flops? in canadian) and canvas shoes, real thin)

Any info would be much appreciated!!

Cheers!!

Harlee

2. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 7y

I'd suggest buying most of your snow boarding gear over in Canada - I certainly found it much cheaper to buy it over there, than here in Australia and the gear was better quality. I'd also suggest getting a neckie (closed scarf type thing) or balaclava - boarding in -20 conditions you are likely to get frost bite on nose/ears if you aren't fully covered up.

Also - don't bother with taking thin canvas shoes - they'll get soaked and frozen really quicky. Instead invest in a good pair of waterproof hiking boots - I got mine in Banff 5 years ago and they are still the best pair I have bought anywhere.

In terms of thermals - you get what you pay for. Personally, I'm a big fan of the marino wool thermals - there are some fantastic NZ brands available here in oz if you want to buy them before you leave.

The other thing I'd reccommend is invest in some really good gloves - if you are a noob boarder, you are going to spend a fair bit of time with your hands in the snow aqs you pick yourself up from falling; definately no fun after 30mins if your hands are wet and freezing!

Hope you have a fantastic winter! The season I spent in Banff was definately one I'll remember for ever!

3. Posted by ChubbDub (Full Member 132 posts) 7y

Hola. Yeah your shoes are useless especially in Vancouver, it's very wet there. Also, don't arrive in Vancouver thinking "this isn't so bad!!" first it's not winter yet ;) and second Vancouver has the better climate in the winter. It's not that cold. I can't help you much with snowboarding gear, but with mountain gear I can. There is a chain of stores across Canada called Mountain Equipment Co-Op and I think it's a perfect store for what you need! It has all your that you need for outdoor clothing. They do sell snowboards and such as well and will be able to help you with them, but I would try a place like Sport Chek, you should be able to pick it up much cheaper there, + your new so you might not need something really pricey

Here's a link for MEC:
http://www.mec.ca/splash.jsp

Sport Chek:
http://www.sportchek.ca/sportchek/do/menu

Both have stores in Vancouver.

Their staff will help you (MEC's very good)

They have an online catalog you can browse for prices.

My one piece of advice. Buy really good Thermal underwear. Socks, legs and shirt. And as mentioned above a Balliclava. I have had a whole set of Helly Hansen long underwear I bought from Marks Work Wearhouse years ago and they've saved me many a time. A Balliclava you won't need every day but you'll be thankfull you have one ;). Oh and don't forget a Toque!!!

Jasper's a beautiful place =) wish you the best!!

4. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 7y

Oh and don't forget a Toque!!!

lol - haven't heard that word in a while!! For aussies that don't yet speak canadian, Toque = beanie

5. Posted by harlee (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

Excellent!

Thanks for advice and links

don't bother with taking thin canvas shoes - they'll get soaked and frozen really quicky. Instead invest in a good pair of waterproof hiking boots

ha yeah, i figured i would just wait till i got to Vancouver to buy some proper shoes to save on luggage. These canvas shoes are all i have! And yes, definitely getting some wicked gloves!

don't arrive in Vancouver thinking "this isn't so bad!!" first it's not winter yet

I have been forewarned of the climate at this time of year there, and was told that it will be around as cold as Melbourne's winter, so I figured i'd be right, momentarily, till I get everything I need.

Currently i'm sitting in boardies out on my deck in the sun, its like 25 degrees! So, I will likely freeze without quality thermals when im in CA.

Thanks again for your help! I will surely check out those shops when i'm there.

Cheers

H

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Oct-2009, at 16:02 by harlee ]

6. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 7y

Hey harlee,

Both MEC and Sport Chek are good stores. There is also Helly Hansen (a snowboard/ski clothing outfitter), Sport Mart (like Sport Chek, but generally less expensive), Eddie Bauer (casual clothing and some good quality outdoor gear), and one other really good one but I can't remember the name . .. on-the-tip-of-my-tongue . .. . In fact, I can even picture it and everything . . . The red-and-white maple leaf logo floating in my mind . . . errrr!

About dressing for the cold

The number one rule that all Canadians will tell you is to dress in layers. This allows extra insulation against the cold, because of the still air between them (I think 15% better). Also, when you go inside, you aren't roasting under your wooly sweater- you can peel off a layer or two and be warm . . . instead of sweating to death! Yuck! So that means that you don't necessarily need to buy a ton of super thick, bulky clothing- which will save room in your luggage. Instead, invest in some long sleeve shirts, comfy-but-not-bulky sweaters, t-shirts, jeans, whatever. If you aren't used to the cold, it will take a while to get used to it. But it isn't so bad once you are. The trick is to dress for it, and to guard against hypothermia (under heating). So when you first get here, you will probably want to wear long underwear, or even pantyhose under your clothing. But after a while, you might find you don't need them. TBH, I never wear them. But it is different when you are snowboarding in the mountains. Definately dress warm for that. Also, bring lots of socks- the more the better. Bring thick and thin ones so that you can layer them. There is almost nothing worse than cold feet and hands. Bring hoodies and jeans. Thicker pants will be warmer on your legs; jeans are the best.

Outerwear

For the temperatures that you will come across in Jasper, you will need good outerwear. In the city, I get by with my wool coat. This is something, however, that might be better to buy once you land. There are stores here in Canada that are based in NYC, and their coats are way too thin. There isn't a good chance that you will find a good coat in Australia. Personally, I usually wear pea coats, but a ski jacket is fine, too, and maybe less expensive depending on the brand (a pea coat will run you between $100-150 for the cheapest ones that are still decent). For pea coats, Fairweather is a good store to shop in. Le Chateau is pretty good too. Ski jackets are everywhere.

You will want to keep drafts out of your coat as much as possible, so get a good scarf. This will save you. The wind is really, really cold. Without proper protection, you could get hypothermia.

Also, like a pervious poster said, something to wear on your head. We call them touques, and in the US they call them beanies. For the sake of diplomacy, we'll just refer to them as "wool hats." Wool hats are an absolute must. You lose most of your heat through your head. You could go the balaclava route, but you'll probably look like one of those guys about to rob a bank! However, they're probably laughing because their faces are warm, and I can't move my eyebrows! (BTW, a balaclava is an over-the-head thing that covers your entire face and head, with only holes for your eyes, nose, and mouth.) Make sure the wool hat covers your ears completely or invest in an earband/ear muffs.

Gloves. Gloves are a must. Here is the lowdown on gloves: mittens, the ones where all your fingers are in one section and your thumb is in another, are warmer than gloves, which separate every finger. However, as you can probably guess, gloves give your hands more mobility. Get thick ones, or ones made with "smart" material, like thinsulate. Avoid any that have little holes (as in, if they're knitted, for example) that air and snow can get through. Don't get those cheapo cotton glovves that lots of people have. They're not good. You hands will be frozen in no time. One thing about gloves: if your fingers do get cold, you can make a fist inside your gloves and they will warm up from body heat. On the verge of frostbite, though, get inside ASAP. And do not rub them. Rinsing them under hot water helps, also, if your hands are cold.

Footwear. Yep, your canvas shoes may not be good enough. It snows a lot in the mountains- much more than in the cities- so you will probably get wet feet really fast. Wet feet=cold feet=bad. In the city, I wear leather shoes, sometimes with heels, sometimes flat. They work fine. But all the salt (to melt the snow) on the roads totally destroys them after a season. In the city, it isn't as important that you wear boots that go up around your ankle and beyond. There is a law that everyone must shovel their sidewalks, because if you don't, someone could slip on the ice and break something, and then you'll get sued. The city removes the snow on public sidewalks. You'll probably want boots. Right now, people are wearing riding boots a lot, if you're into fashion, but really, just find something you're comfortable in- and make sure that they have good grips so you don't slip.

Snowboarding Gear

You'll need separate clothing for snowboarding. A good jacket is necessary. Make sure it is wind resistant. A good pair of snowpants is also a must. You said you're a newbie, so you'll be falling a lot. Some people try to get by without these, but they're experienced and they don't fall a lot. These will save you from getting super wet. Get some snowboarding gloves, too. Seeing that I only cross country ski infrequently, I can't comment on snowboarding gear that much. My brother snowboards, so all that I know comes from him. For cross-country skiing, you need something breathable as well as warm, usually with zippers in the pits to ventilate your body, but I don't think that this is the case for alpine skiing or snowboarding.

Good luck and have fun! Sorry about the length of this post, BTW . . TBH, I wasn't sure just how much you know about dressing for the cold, so I just kind of told you everything . . .

Steph

7. Posted by harlee (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

WOW! Steph, thanks for the huuuge post! I learned quite a bit from it, don't rub your hands if cold!? ah! I am quite susceptible to cold hands when i surf. So yeah i'll get some wicked mits/gloves with underlays for sure. In regards to the footwear I never intended on wearing those shoes to Jasper! haha, i'm not that daft. I'll pick up the majority of everything i need in Vancouver.

I'll be going over this thread again to get the best options and know where to head when i'm snuggled down in my 8 bed dorm room hostel... ha!

cheers!

Harlee

8. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 7y

Quoting harlee

WOW! Steph, thanks for the huuuge post! I learned quite a bit from it, don't rub your hands if cold!? ah! I am quite susceptible to cold hands when i surf. So yeah i'll get some wicked mits/gloves with underlays for sure. In regards to the footwear I never intended on wearing those shoes to Jasper! haha, i'm not that daft. I'll pick up the majority of everything i need in Vancouver.

I'll be going over this thread again to get the best options and know where to head when i'm snuggled down in my 8 bed dorm room hostel... ha!

cheers!

Harlee

No problem! Actually, about the hands, I should clarify: don't rub frost-bitten hands; cold hands should still be okay.

Have fun in Jasper!

Steph

9. Posted by Sparlita (Budding Member 41 posts) 7y

Have a look at craigslist dot org in the Vancouver area for used equipment. You should ask someone at your work for advice on buying used. There may also be lots of used equipment and clothing around your job (co-workers or from the ski resort stores - staff discount!).

Just some thoughts. Welcome!

10. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 7y

On that note, there is also kijiji Vancouver, and something called The Bargain Finder that you can look for. All Canadian cities have one, according to my understanding. You should be able to pick one up at any of the many 7-eleven stores in Vancouver and area for some pocket change. And don't forget the good old classifieds in the local paper. There may be ads for gently used equipment there. Also, I was going to recommend something called a "sport swap" that might be happening (there is one every year in Calgary- my brother has gotten a lot of good hockey equipment at much reduced prices there), but realised that you wouldn't have anything to "swap." So it might not work for you.

Anyway, good luck!

Steph