How do you spend your free time during the winter? Are you out hitting the slopes or curled up with a good book? Does the winter chill excite you or keep you home-bound for days?
This winter, brave the snow with some of our favorite winter activities. While some classic winter sports can be especially pricey, there are plenty of lower-cost activities that are equally fun. Whether you want an adventure that will get your heart pumping or you’re looking for a quiet way to enjoy this slower season, we’ve got the winter outdoor activity for you.
Snowshoeing is a fantastic form of exercise and winter fun. It’s also beginner-friendly and inexpensive to get started, making it a great activity for anyone living in or visiting a snowy place.
Snowshoeing is similar to hiking but with extra gear to help you “float” on top of the snow. If you’ve ever sunk to your knees while trying to wade through deep powder, you understand the need for snowshoes.
Once you’ve strapped on a pair of snowshoes over your winter boots, your options for exploring are endless. Hike your favorite trails or take an off-trail adventure.
Snowshoeing is easy to learn and very intuitive. The biggest difference from hiking is the need for a wider stance (so you don’t trip!) and the extra effort it takes to hike with additional gear. If you want more help, take a pair of trekking poles (or ski poles) with you for added balance.
Rent snowshoes at a local outdoor gear shop, ski resort, or Nordic center. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time! If you want to learn more about this winter activity, check out our blog post all about snowshoeing.
Cross-country skiing is an efficient and fun way to travel over snow. It’s great exercise, warms you up on cold days, and is a way to explore your favorite trails in the winter.
If cross-country skiing is new to you, the best way to get started is to take a lesson or rent skis at a Nordic center or resort. Much like snowshoeing, you can cross-country ski almost anywhere there’s snow. But starting with a groomed trail will make learning much easier.
Look for ski resorts or Nordic centers near you. These places will have nicely groomed trails with a double track carved into the snow. This is the easiest way to learn — you don’t have to worry much about controlling which way you go. All you have to do is move yourself forward and let the tracks guide you.
Ice skating is a classic winter activity, and you don’t even need snow (or even cold weather) to do it!During the winter, you can skate at an indoor rink or — if it’s cold enough — at an outdoor rink. If you live somewhere really cold, you may even be able to skate on frozen lakes and ponds.
Much like snowshoeing and skiing, you can always take a lesson if you’re a beginner ice skater. But with a little practice, you’ll learn the basics pretty quickly. Beginners should start skating at an indoor or outdoor rink where rental skates are available. The beauty of a well-maintained ice rink is that you’ll have a smooth surface to skate on. Lakes and ponds, while fun places to skate, are never as smooth (and come with inherent risk).
While birding may not seem like an obvious winter activity, it’s a wonderful time to get outside and see birds you may not see during other times of the year. With bare branches on the trees, you’ll have a much easier time spotting birds than in the summer.
If you’re totally new to birding and want to pique your interest before bundling up and going out, winter is the perfect season to observe birds at a feeder. Like many other animals, birds have a harder time finding food during the winter, and a feeder can attract a wide range of species.
When you’re ready to see more, start by doing your research. Do this inside, where it’s warm, before heading out into the elements. Figure out which birds you’ll be looking for — both year-round birds and those who are “visiting” for winter. Use a trusty, old-fashioned field guide or a bird identification app on your phone.
Look up different areas nearby that are popular bird habitats. Bundle up, grab your binoculars and guide, snowshoes if necessary, and see what you can see!
If you’re looking for adventure this winter season, fat biking might be the sport for you. Fat bikes, fat-tire bikes, or snow bikes, are just what they sound like. With wide, low-pressure tires, these bikes have great traction on snow (and dirt, too).
If you’re a cyclist during the rest of the year, fat biking is the perfect way to stay in shape over the long, snowy winter. But it’s not just great exercise — it’s great fun, too. If that weren’t enough, biking in the snow isn’t as hard as it looks. If you can ride a bike, you can ride a fat bike.
While fat bikes themselves are pricey — “budget” bikes range from $500–$1,500 — rentals aren’t hard to find. As fat biking grows in popularity in snowy places across the country, it’s easier than ever to find bikes and a community of people ready to share the sport with you. Check out local bike shops, outdoor gear shops, and ski resorts for daily rentals.
Okay, okay — we’ve all been sledding before, right? It’s the quintessential winter activity for kids of all ages, and all it takes is a sled (or cafeteria tray, trash can lid, cookie sheet, garbage bag… you get the idea).
When’s the last you flew down a hill on a saucer or inner tube? It’s probably been a while. But sledding isn’t just for kids on snow days — it’s a universal thrill you’ll want to explore this winter.
Sledding is one of the more creative winter activities. As we already mentioned, you can use whatever you have on hand to cruise down the local hill. But technology has improved — yes, even for sledding — and you can really nerd out with different models if you want. Have you heard of Sled Legs yet?
If you want the thrills of sledding without the exhausting hike back up the hill, check out winter tubing parks in your area. Hitching a ride up the hill on a tow rope means you can pack in a lot of runs in a short amount of time!
It’s easy to put our favorite outdoor adventures on hold in the winter. After all, the cold, snow, and darkness can make it more appealing to cozy up inside. But just because we can’t do all of our favorite activities during the winter, doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to do.
Don’t let the season pass you by without trying a new winter activity. Bundle up with your favorite Cloudline socks, head outside, and enjoy this beautiful season!
Let us know what new winter activities you try this year. Tag us on Instagram with #cloudlinesocks to share your epic winter adventures.
Click here to view all the socks we offer at Cloudline!
Emily is a copywriter based in northern Michigan. She's happiest outdoors, whether she's hiking, skiing, paddling, or swimming. As a writer, she loves working with companies that inspire all people to get outside. When she's not writing or playing outdoors, you can find her cooking, reading, or hanging out with family and friends. Find more of her writing here.
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