Winter is Coming

MCCS IN-Depth Winter

winter is coming

Aaron Pylinski | Community Writer

Those of us fortunate enough to be from Northern climates back in the States see winter preparation as just another normal part of the year. Getting winter tires on your vehicle and having cold weather survival gear in the trunk is only a couple of steps we take to prepare for what winter has to throw at us. There may be members of our community who have never needed to winterize their vehicle or brace for weather colder than 50-60 degrees.

Luckily, MCCS Iwakuni has plenty of outlets for getting ready for the winter in Japan. Though we don’t see lake effect snow or sub-zero temps here like they do in Buffalo, New York. It does occasionally get below freezing and we do see the occasional dusting of snow.

But, if you’re looking to travel north and venture into the mountains of Japan, it is in your best interest to prepare not only your automobiles and homes but also yourselves.

“The weather here in Iwakuni isn’t like that in Yokusaka, but the Sanyo between Iwakuni and Kuga can be tricky, and they won’t let you through without winter tires on your car,” said Chad Hasty, a service writer at Typhoon Motors.

Typhoon Motors offers a winterizing service for automobiles that includes checking the heating system, battery, tires, and fluids. These inspections cost $50. So, if you get your car inspected and require a new battery, it’ll cost the price of the battery plus labor to change it out.

Common deficiencies found during the Typhoon Motors winterization inspections are weak batteries, treadwear, or not having winter tires or chains. According to hasty not getting these things fixed are a recipe for disaster during winter travel.

“Don’t get stranded. Come to see us [at Typhoon Motors]. If your car’s not ready for winter, you could be stranded. Don’t procrastinate, get it done.”

If you are looking to schedule a winter safety inspection, call and book an appointment. Normally how an appointment works, you drop off your car in the morning and depending on the inspection and services needed, you’ll be able to pick up your car before the end of the day.

Being safe at home is just as important as winterizing your car. Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths. With winter just around the corner, there are safety tips to consider so you and your family can stay warm and safe this season. Keep anything flammable at least three feet from heating equipment. Children should stay at least three feet away from open fires and space heaters. Never use your oven to heat your home. Clean and inspect heating equipment and chimneys every year. Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed. Make sure there is a smoke alarm in the same room and test them once a month. Remember, half of all home heating fires are reported during December, January, and February.

Safety Tips for Skiing & Snowboarding

There’s no substitute for common sense when it comes to safety. Common injuries for skiing and
snowboarding include injuries to the wrist, knee, and ankle, and impact injuries to the body and head.
Take these tips into consideration before hitting the slopes.

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Visually inspect gear before use
  • Use gear that fits
  • Dress in layers
  • Wear goggles and sunscreen
  • Only ski or snowboard on trails that match your skill level

Causes of Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Hypothermia normally occurs when the core body temperature falls below 95F degrees (35C). Here are some causes of Hypothermia:

  • Long exposure to the cold
  • Wet clothing
  • Alcohol
  • Overactivity (sweating)
  • Under activity
  • Wind, cold, or rain
  • Dehydration
  • Poor clothing and equipment
  • Not using common sense

Symptoms of Hypothermia

According to the Mayo Clinic, shivering is likely the first thing you will notice in someone (or yourself) as the core body temperature starts to drop. Here are the other symptoms:

  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Slow shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Confusions or memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bright red, cold skin (in infants)

When it comes to winter safety, common sense is key. This is not just for at home, but also when you’re enjoying the outdoors. Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic of cold weather injuries.

“Dress in the proper attire," says the outdoor Recreation Manager, Mashiko Hiromoto," use common sense and don’t mix alcohol with winter activities.”

With these safety guidelines in mind, don’t be afraid to have a little fun in the snow this year. Preparing for the cold isn’t always hard work, take time to responsibly enjoy the cooler temps. Outdoor Rec can provide you with the very best of equipment free of charge and excursions at reasonable prices.

Outdoor Rec Winter Trips

The Megahira Ski Resort is closest to Iwakuni. There are seven runs of varying difficulty for both skiers and snowboarders. The Geihoku Ski Resort is the largest in the Hiroshima Prefecture. There are 13 runs of varying difficulty for both skiers and snowboarders. They also offer cafes and restaurants along the slopes to provide a great ski town atmosphere. The Saioto Ski Resort is one of many ski resorts located in the Hiroshima Prefecture. The resort accommodates all skill levels and has a snow park for those who want to try their hand at a trick or two.

    December 15 - Megahira Ski Resort

    January 12 - Geihoku Ski Resort

    January 26 - Saioto Ski Resort

    February 9 - Geihoku Ski Resort

    February 23 - Saioto Ski Resort

    March 2 - Geihoku Ski Resort

    Each trip is from 7 AM - 6:30 PM

    Fees are:

    Ages 12 & older $20

    Ages 11 & younger $15

    *Lift ticket not included

    (The average lift ticket price is ¥3000 for children and ¥4500 for adults)

    “We expect every Thursday to be very busy this winter. This is the day before the weekend when people line up at Outdoor Rec to sign out snowboard and ski equipment. Snowboarding is our most popular sport throughout the entire year.”
    -Nobuharu Murakami, outdoor recreation specialist

    Outdoor Rec should start seeing new gear purchased through the Qualified Recycling Program (QRP) in mid-December adding to our gear selection. This coincides with when most slopes tend to open. Register for trips at Outdoor Rec one month prior to each event unless otherwise noted. All trips depart from IronWorks and ages 18 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

    Enjoy snow igloos, have snowball fights, go sledding, and skiing at Mominoki Forest Park. This trip is for the family and beginner skier or snowboarder. This trip is February 2, from 8 AM - 4 PM and costs $10 per person.

    Register at Outdoor Rec 30 days prior to each event.

    We can’t stop the changing of the seasons, but we can prepare ourselves and plan for fun in the cooler temps.