Tina Varughese, President of tWorks, is certainly a winter expert, having devoted much of career to assisting in the relocation of new immigrants to our chilly province of Alberta. Tina took a few minutes to share her favourite parts of the season and her thoughts on where her hometown of Calgary could improve its winter offerings.

1. What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?

My 12 year old son plays hockey so I always look forward to watching him play, meeting new parents and cheering his team on! I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d become and embrace being a hockey mom.

2. If you could do one thing to improve winter life in your city or community, what would it be?

I’m Calgary-based and though we do have excellent public transit it could be more far reaching, especially in residential areas. For senior citizens, it can be unnerving to drive in winter conditions so I would like to see public transportation improved upon.

3. What is your favourite outdoor winter activity; what makes you want to get outside when it’s below zero?

I’m a winter walker. I have a good friend that walks regularly with me. As long as we ‘layer’ accordingly - we’re good to go. There is nothing like a fresh snow on the ground.

4. What is your favourite winter beverage?

I make my own masala chai tea which I only enjoy in the winter time. When the spices, such as cardamom, fresh ginger and cinnamon are brewing, the aroma spreads and warms the whole house. My neighbours have purchased ‘to go’ cups for me to fill for them!

5. What is your favourite winter city destination and why? 

Canmore, AB. To be in such close proximity to the mountains is amazing. We would often spend our New Year’s Eves there with close friends tobogganing and warming up with hot chocolate and Bailey’s after.

6. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Having worked with the Province of Alberta’s Immigration department then starting my own relocation and settlement firm I had to describe winter many times to new immigrants and expatriates who had mixed feelings about winter. Some were extremely excited to experience world-class skiing, skating, snowshoeing and even mushing for the first time. Some were terrified of how cold and icy it could truly get. Experiencing anything for the first time is both scary and exciting. Winter can certainly be challenging- especially driving in icy road conditions without winter tires. However, if prepared with the right clothing, tires, heating etc. it can be an exhilarating experience. There is so much fun to be had in a province like Alberta! It’s a great place to live, work and play!

Tina will be presenting her imaginatively titled "50 Shades of White:  Learning to Love Winter" after lunch on Thursday, February 16.