When Old Man Winter and Mother Nature team up to host winter sports, everyone is invited to play. From skiing and snowboarding to snowmobile rides and cross-country glides, a flurry of cold-weather activity is waiting in destinations like Michigan, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. No worries if you don’t have your own equipment. Most recreational areas have rentals available. And you can always gear up at local outfitters.
These winter sports make it easy to have your day in the snow.
Make tracks and take the scenic route during a cross-country skiing excursion. This activity is an excellent low-impact, full-body workout that utilizes both the pulling and pushing muscle groups in your body. In fact, you can burn more than 600 calories per hour if you ski at a brisk pace. Cross-country skiing is a great way to explore areas not always accessible on the beaten path.
If you like to feel exhilarating cold breezes nipping at your nose, step into a pair of skis and swoosh down the slopes. Michigan’s Boyne Mountain is the Midwest’s largest ski area with 14 lifts and more than 50 trails to choose from. If you’re an avid skier, you probably already know the term Milk Run. This describes the first run of the day when the slopes are freshest. Those who like to go the extreme (and have a lot of experience) can push the limits on Black Diamond runs. Beginners can hop on a bunny slope to get comfortable wearing skis for the very first time and practice going over gradual drops.
For a big-time adrenaline rush, shred up the side of a hill on a snowboard. Similar to a skateboard, riders stand on both feet as they take part in this fast-paced winter sport. Considered an extreme activity by most, snowboarders like to get huge air by hitting big jumps located along the trail. While it’s tempting to have fun and be carefree, always think safety first. You’re not going to stick the landing every time—and you will come tumbling down. Wear a helmet to protect your head. Put on kneepads and wrist guards to help protect your bones. Two last things: Be aware of your surroundings and use caution.
For an afternoon of fun that doesn’t require any training or special skill, head down the mountain on an inner tube. Snow tubing can be enjoyed alone or in tandem with family and friends. If you like the group thing, tie a few tubes together—or hold hands and bond during the ride. If you prefer to go it by yourself, ask someone to give you a good push and spin for a ride like a twirling top. Those looking for the fastest run possible should wait until late afternoon. At that time all the snow will be compacted and slick.
Ladies, forget the high heels and pumps. You can look stylish in the latest winter fashion from the snowshoe collection. These flat, webbed shoes allow explorers to walk across thick blankets of fresh white snow with ease while being surrounded by the wonders of nature.
Enjoy a high-tech adventure by dashing through the snow on a motorized sled. Snowmobiles are all-terrain vehicles are designed to traverse areas of thick snow where other vehicles would become stuck. With skis in front and a continuous moving track in the rear, these gasoline-powered machines provide recreational fun all winter long.