There’s no need for the winter blues. This winter, there are lots of exciting activities you can participate in that are both fun and good for your health. Some winter activities are challenging and require lessons, specialist equipment, some expenditure, and lots of practice and patience. Other winter activities can be picked up in minutes and cost little.
You can enjoy ice skating in indoor and outdoor rinks all around the world or on lakes and ponds during winter in northerly latitudes. Outdoor rinks in the holiday season become magical places where you can have fun with all the family, even in warm locations like San Diego. Some outdoor rinks have become iconic settings for romcoms and romantic getaways, such as the outdoor rink at the Rockefeller Center in NYC.
All you need to start off is a pair of skates, which you can usually hire at ice rinks. However, skating requires a certain level of skill and coordination. It’s best to take elementary lessons before skating by yourself. Once you’ve learned the basics, it takes time and dedication to get to Michelle Kwan’s standard.
Enthusiastic skaters should invest in their own pair of skates and consider protective equipment like knee and elbow pads. If you’re feeling competitive, look into local amateur ice hockey teams at your local ice rink. You can burn off your aggression and your Christmas calories chasing the puck around the ice.
If you enjoy hiking in summer, try snowshoeing in winter. Many hiking trails through forested and mountainous regions remain open when the snow falls. The blanket of snow, icicles hanging from the trees and rocks, and iced-over lakes transform the familiar scenery into something new.
Many national and state parks encourage snowshoeing by providing designated trails. For example, at the Interstate State Park in Wisconsin and Minnesota in the US, there are 13 miles of trails for snowshoeing, including the 1½-mile Railroad Trail that follows an old steam railway track and the 1¼-mile River Trail.
Snowshoeing is easier to learn than skating and you’re much less likely to fall. These oversized shoes distribute your weight evenly over a wide surface and cause less damage to trails in snowy conditions than regular hiking boots. With snowshoes, you can access areas that you can’t reach when cross-country skiing. Snowshoes are affordable and simple to use. Just strap them on over your boots and head out into the great outdoors.
Although skiing is a more expensive sport requiring specialist clothes, equipment, and lessons, it remains one of the more popular winter activities. You can find ski resorts all over the world, from the Andes in Argentina to the Southern Alps in New Zealand.
Some people choose to ski down slopes, using a ski lift to ascend the slopes. However, if you want a good workout on skis, try cross-country skiing. Keen cross-country skiing enthusiasts can even follow in the ski-tracks of their heroes by skiing across the challenging terrain at one of several Winter Olympics venues around the world.
Check out the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park in Canada which was a venue for the XV Olympic Winter Games. The park boasts 40 miles of groomed cross-country trails. You can also opt to ski through the night on the 4 miles of illuminated trails. Machine-made snow covering 12 miles of cross-country trails enables an early start to the skiing season in mid-October.
A popular alternative to skiing is snowboarding. In most places where you can ski, you can also snowboard. Many ski resorts have snowboards for hire and offer novice passes that allow access to beginner runs and the bunny hill at a discounted rate. If you get good at snowboarding, you can perform more tricks than when skiing.
Like skiing, snowboarding is not easy. You will require lessons and lots of practice. When beginning to snowboard, save money by practicing out of season at a nearby small resort. As a novice, you are only able to tackle the easier runs so your money would be wasted at a major resort where you wouldn’t be able to make use of the more demanding slopes.
While a bobsleighing experience at a resort like the Whistler Sliding Centre in Vancouver gives you an adrenaline rush, you’ll get much more exercise while kicksledding. A kicksled is a small sled with a handlebar and a chair. You stand on the runners and propel the sled through the snow by kicking against the ground.
Kicksledding is a popular sport in Scandinavia and is spreading to other winter sports resorts around the world. Kicksleds operate best on hard-packed snow or ice. You can get a friend to sit in the chair while you push them across the snow. Get several friends together and challenge them to a kicksled race.
#6. Traditional snowy fun
You don’t need equipment to have fun and exercise in the snow. Get together with friends and family to build a snow fort then challenge them to a snowball fight. Running through deep snow is more demanding than running on a dry surface and scooping up snow to form snowballs then throwing them is great exercise.
If you prefer to be less aggressive, build a snowman together. And if you don’t mind getting wet on the ground, snow angels are always an option. Even a walk through the snow provides you with pleasurable views and moderate exercise.