Yes I Can Enjoy Winter

There is nothing quite as magical as a fresh blanket of snow waiting to be explored.  However, for a person living with a spinal cord injury or diagnosis such as Multiple Sclerosis or Spina Bifida, the snow, and extreme cold can pose quite a lot of trouble. 

We at Bardcare were unwilling to let the challenges keep us from taking part in the magic of winter. 

Here are some tricks we learned to be able to get out and make our own foot prints/tire tracks in the snow.

Leslie says:

  • Find equipment that helps you access different terrain. For example, The Free Wheel, track chair, Grit Freedom Chair, or even horse back.
  • Build a network of friends that can enjoy the outdoors with you. A helping hand makes the adventure better.
  • Make time daily to get outside. Even if you simply enjoy watching the birds or reading a book outside. I have found that anytime outdoors is therapeutic for my mind, body, and soul.

Mike says:

  • Dress in layers, it's better to have on too much rather than not enough. Getting cold quick can turn any outdoor adventure into one of discomfort not to mention dangerous.
  • Hydrate, a lot. This is helpful during any season. I don't usually feel the urge to drink as much in winter but my body is burning mass calories just to keep you warm.
  • Don't go it alone or make sure people know where you are heading to. I love to hunt solo or trek around in my track chair, but it's paramount that someone knows the general area I will be in. Make a plan and stick to it. This will insure a safe return.

Caroline says:

  • In cold months, dress in layers and make sure you are warm enough. In warmer months, find shade or take artificial shade like an umbrella.
  • Don't overdo time outside. Knowing your limits is a valuable skill.
  • Always have your cellphone with you and make sure the charge is 100%!

Amanda says:
As a parent of a little one...

  • We make sure to pay close attention to temperature of our daughters’ legs and feet especially.
  • Wear two or three pairs of socks if needed, to maintain warm feet.
  • Be careful not to over dress her. Temperature regulation can be difficult. Also, medication may affect the ability to sweat. Keeping these things in mind can make outdoor adventures safe and fun.

Jeremy says:

  • Make sure to check and maintain your wheelchair before going out in the cold. You don't want to get stuck out in the cold because something on your chair breaks.
  • Be sure to apply lotions on hands and face and chap stick. Those who use manual wheelchairs hands can crack open due to the dry cold air which makes pushing no fun!
  • Once you have enough layers on and you got your lotion and chap stick applied and you checked your chair to make sure everything is mechanically sound go out and play in the snow or check out the beautiful views of the mountains with all the leaves bare. It gives you some awesome views!

Grandin says:

  • One additional tip regarding layering socks. If you're going to wear multiple pairs of socks, make sure your shoes are large enough to accommodate them. If your shoes are too tight it can impede the circulation in your feet which is already compromised causing your feet to get cold which of course is opposite of the desired effect.

Jenny says: "Enjoying winter outdoor activities?!" Um,

  • Hot tea.
  • Good book.
  • Comfy pjs.
  • Lock the door.


The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. These individuals have been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0217/0390