When a snow day hits and the sun is shining, why not take advantage and get outside? If you bundle up and wear all the necessary winter gear, outdoor fun can be a great way to defeat the cold weather and revel in nature’s beauty. Here are some great ways to get outside and beat those winter blues.
Though only parts of Canada are truly worth skiing or snowboarding in, it is a worthwhile sport to learn and participate in. People always join one camp or the other but both sports have their merits. On a snowboard, you are typically able to do more tricks and technical play. With skiing, it is all about speed. Skis are very mobile and adaptable on the hill. Just try not to lose them because trekking across the hill to grab a lost ski is a laborious process. Snowboarding and skiing can be an expensive sport but is worthwhile to invest in.
Sledding is a great way to enjoy a snow day for kids and adults. The equipment is cheap, ranging from a saucer to an old fashioned sled. Most places will have at least one good sledding hill. Though it is a pain to drag the sled up the hill, the thrill of riding it back down makes it all worthwhile. Get out there and remember what it is like to be a kid again.
Snowshoeing is another great outdoor winter sport and has existed since Aboriginals used them before Europeans arrived in Canada. The custom was passed onto settlers as a mode of travel. Previously, they used animal skin to make the shoes which evolved into plastic and titanium which is used today. There are three types of snowshoes available. Recreational hiking snowshoes are good for beginners, aerobic/fitness snowshoes are best for active snowshoe partakers who enjoy moving quickly. These snowshoes are generally sleeker and lighter. The third type is a hiking/backpack snowshoe which is made for people who love powder and are experienced at snowshoeing. Snowshoes range from $100 to $300.
I fondly remember my friends ripping down the hills on a snowskate and loving every minute of it. The snowskate is a combination of a snowboard and a skateboard. It is a hybrid urban sport that is good for city boarding, and can be used with as little as an inch of snow on the ground. The boards are almost the same size as a skateboard but without the wheels. They are difficult to ride because of the size but once you master it, the speed and fun to be had is unbeatable. Snowskates are affordable, ranging from $50 to $200.
5. Ice Skating
If you do not know how to skate, you simply are not a Canadian. I remember when I was three years old and hitting the rink for the first time. My brother brought me, tied my skates, brought me onto the ice and pushed. Not the most eloquent way to learn skating but I became pretty good on my skates in no time. Ice skating is great solo, with a friend or on a date. It is relaxing and a great workout. Can’t beat that! Skates can be as cheap as $40 and rentals are available at most larger rinks.
6. Playing pick-up hockey
Playing hockey is definitely a must on sunny winter days. A great Canadian custom, rinks in most cities will be full of people ready to come together and play pick-up. The gear for hockey is pricey but if it’s just pick-up, people are often willing to share or rent gear at local hockey rinks. Pick-up hockey is a great way to make new friends, learn how to be a part of a team and pick-up a cute hockey player as well.
7.Building a Snowman
No one is ever too old to build a snowman. It is a great activity that also happens to be free and outdoors. Rolling balls of snow is strangely relaxing and people can get very creative with their snowman projects. In college, a few friends made a giant Buddha on a sunny snow day in the yard of the dorm that was nearly the size of a small car. It was an epic creation and brought smiles to many people’s faces. Building a snowman with a child is also another way to have a great snow day.
8. Winter Hiking
Winter hiking is a great pastime and is relatively easy to do. All it requires are warm clothes and shoes, and some snacks. No hike is satisfying without delicious snacks like trail mix or dried fruit. Winter hiking can be a lot of fun because if one falls, it is into a cloud of snow which provides padding from the hard ground. It is important to stay safe and on routes when hiking because it is easy to get lost while in the backwoods. That being said, the winter wonderland outside is always worth seeing in the beautiful natural world we live in.
9. Ice climbing
Ice climbing is a more adventurous sport of choice for a snow day but is well worthwhile. It is best to try ice climbing with an expert in tow and there are many certified teachers that provide lessons to people willing to give it a go. Ice climbing requires crampons, axes, harnesses, boots and other gear. It can be expensive but it’s worthwhile to try and then once you fall in love with the sport (which you will), then you can start learning the ropes with a partner.
10. Kick it in a hot tub at the end of the snow day
There is nothing nicer than relaxing in a hot tub when it is cold outside with a glass of red wine. A hot soak soothes your muscles after any winter sport. It is especially nice if you are in the hot tub with a great view of the winter mountains, and the hockey player you picked up, or Ryan Gosling.
Enjoy your snow day and remember, the cold shouldn’t mean we stay indoors and fret. Get out there and enjoy the snow.