words Alexa Wang
Winter can be incredibly polarizing – some people love it, and some people hate it. If you find yourself hiding indoors for the winter, waiting for warmer days, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Learning to love the winter is an acquired skill that relies on finding the right winter activities to fuel your passion. Here are six outdoor activities to try to beat the winter blues this season.
Skiing or Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding are two classic winter activities that combine adrenaline with outdoor time. If you fall in love with these sports, you’ll start looking forward to winter every year. Remember that you don’t have to engage in extreme activities to enjoy these sports — cross country skiing is calmer and more relaxing than downhill skiing.
Being prepared and comfortable is the key to falling in love with these activities. Start by stocking up on thermal, moisture-wicking clothing and these hydration packs to keep you comfortable and hydrated on the hills or trails. It’s also worth investing in lessons to help you mitigate the learning curve when you get started.
Hiking and Waterfall Chasing
If you’re looking for a more relaxing and accessible activity, winter hiking and waterfall chasing are free to enjoy and scaleable based on your preferred activity level. You can plan a challenging hike that takes you deep into the forest or an easy trail where you can take a break and enjoy a refreshing coffee in the woods.
If you live in an area with any elevation, you should be able to find a few winter waterfalls. The colder months are the best time to enjoy waterfalls, as the ice looks stunning and the warmer weather results in evaporation. Choose a few waterfalls to visit early in the season, then revisit during the spring thaw.
Ice climbing is a physically demanding, yet rewarding winter activity. This exercise isn’t for the faint of heart and requires a lot of practice and training to become skilled. If you like rock climbing and hiking during the warmer months, this could be the winter alternative for you.
As an ice climbing beginner, you should reach out to your local community to see if more seasoned vets are willing to take you under their wing. Alternatively, you can reach out to a local outdoors supply shop and see if they have lessons available. While it’s difficult to get started in this sport, it may quickly become a life-long passion.
Fat Tire Biking
Many cyclists put their bikes away for the winter and count down the days until the warmer weather. If you love biking, consider investing in a fat tire bike for the winter months. These tires allow you to hit the trails safely, combining the joys of winter hiking with cycling.
Fat tire biking is a fun family activity and helps you make the most of the snowy months until you can hit the open road again.
People who love fishing in the spring and summer would be wise to try ice fishing. This winter activity is limited to places that reach sustainably cold temperatures to ensure a safe ice thickness, which should be at least four inches thick to support a grown human and six inches thick to support any heavy gear.
Preparedness is also integral for ice fishing, as it necessitates sitting outside in cold weather. Invest in some warm thermal gear and a thick, insulated coat. You can also get a lightweight thermal tent to block the wind and keep you warm while you wait for your catch.
Another simple, free activity for those who prefer creativity over adventure is snow (or ice) sculpting. Think beyond the basic snowman and practice creating some spectacular winter sculptures. This is a great way to pass the hours without leaving home, so you can head indoors to warm up at any time. There are plenty of tutorials and lessons available online to get you started.
Choosing the right activity can help you learn to love winter and look forward to its return every year.