First Snow

“Take your boots back to Canada,” my wife told me in November. “You are never going to use them here.”

The winter boots are an ongoing joke. I bought them in the fall of 2017, making sure I was prepared for the winter all my German friends assured me was coming. Except it didn’t.

Throughout that winter the boots stayed in the box they came in. The same in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Heading home for Christmas, and looking at moving back to Canada, it made sense to take the boots to a place where I would use them.

I will admit we have had snow in Sulzburg each winter. Once or twice during the season white flakes fall from the sky. It is pretty, but there is no accumulation. The streets are damp from the snow, but no-one would ever dream of wearing boots. Sometimes you can see it on the trees for a few hours, but never overnight. We don’t own a snow brush for the car.

So why not take the boots back to Canada, where there was snow in October this year? But sometimes I don’t do what makes teh most sense.

As I said to my wife: “If I take them back to Canada and leave them there, Sulzburg will have a record snowfall – and I will have no boots. If I leave them in Germany, I can take them back to Canada still unused, and have new boots for next season.”

Sulzburg in early January seemed to be a continuous weather warning. Each tie I looked at the weather app on my phone I noted there was an extreme cold warning,. Minus one Celsius (30 Fahrenheit) is not extreme cold in my books.

So I didn’t pay too much attention when there was snow in the forecast as well. Perhaps there would be snow in the mountains, but Sulzburg sits in a valley. From experience I knew there would be no snow. I was wrong.

I don’t know if it was a record for Sulzburg, but I wound up using the boots. The snow started falling mid-morning the first day I was out of quarantine. By noon there was a couple of centimetres on the ground. By 3 p.m. there was at least six – and the snow was still falling.

It would have been easy to just not go out, to leave the boots in the box, but I had been in quarantine for 10 days. There was no way I was going to let a little snow (very little by Canadian standards) stop me from going for a walk through the vineyards.

The snow continued to fall overnight and all the next day. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a few days before it melted.

I hadn’t thought of it before, but snow has to be handled differently here than in Canada. People have to shovel the sidewalks in front of their house. The municipality can’t do it – the sidewalks aren’t wide enough to accommodate a sidewalk plough. (Sometimes the sidewalks aren’t wide enough to accommodate a person.)

Sulzburg probably doesn’t have a snowplow. At least I didn’t see one, and my street went unplowed. So did the main street.

Which makes sense. Plows are expensive, equipment. Why tie up that capital in something you might use once or twice a decade?

As for my boots, I probably won’t use them again this winter. Next winter in Canada I will use them occasionally, but maybe not that often. Looking at the documentation I see that, despite being called “Antarctica” they are only warm when the temperature is minus fifteen or warmer.

That certainly won’t be that effective in a Canadian winter.



  1. OMG! We can’t withstand just 11°C .How do you walk on roads in chilled winter

    1. It all depends on what you are used to. I find Germany too mild – the coldest it has been here in four years is -9 Celsius. I’m more used to minus 30.

      1. That’s Great!

  2. Yes!! Thats one less thing on the list to buy for winter then 😅

  3. The snow looks so beautiful!!! Im glad you were able to put the boots to use!!!

    1. Me too. Now I can pack them up until next winter.

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