One of my favourite days of the whole year is the first snowfall. Big, soft, fluffy flakes come twirling from the sky and lay gently on the ground, eventually creating a canvas of white. Everything is more magical in the winter – everything sparkles, the air is crisp, suitable attire becomes cozy scarves and mittens, there are no bugs, and it is completely acceptable to drink hot chocolate or coffee and Baileys everyday.
The list of winter magic goes on and on, but no matter what there are always a large handful of people who complain about the cold season every single year. As a born-and-raised Saskatchewanian, I am very familiar with cold weather. Throughout my entire elementary and high school career, there was a total of one snow day. Yet, with the wind chill, the temperature has on many occasions sat at minus 50. That’s freezing, even for me, but yet I still harbour a deep love for winter, and every time it comes around my eyes glisten like a child on Christmas Day.
So, my advice to the cold–complainers is this: SUCK IT UP. We live in Canada, which means that winter will come around once in awhile, whether you like it or not, and instead of complaining about it you can either move to Arizona, where the average winter temperature is well above 0 degrees Celsius, or you can embrace it. Despite what you may think, summer isn’t the only season you can have an exciting experience. With winter comes a bunch of new and awesome activities to take part in.
For those who choose to embrace it, here are 7 activities to do in the winter time.
1. Backcountry skiing
Backcountry skiing refers to the location of the skiing and not the style. The backcountry setting revolves around unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside the boundaries of a ski resort. There are dangers however; since it is generally done out of bounds, there is no ski patrol and no tourists, which means you have to be extra careful when going out by yourself, especially since some regions have high avalanche hazards. Despite being more dangerous, backcountry skiing is also more rewarding. Where other types of skiing involve following nicely groomed trails or freshly plowed land, this type of skiing allows ski-enthusiasts to form their own paths, through an untouched winter wonderland.
2. Winter camping
When I was in the sixth grade our class went winter camping. “Winter camping?” we all shouted in disgust. The thought of crossing a mostly outdoor activity with the frigid Saskatchewan winter seemed completely absurd. Today, it remains one of my all-time favourite memories. We obviously couldn’t tent, so we stayed in tiny cabins with no bells and whistles – hard bunk beds were the only thing lining the walls. We went on winter hikes, tried snowshoeing, raced each other down the hill on our toboggans, and would finish each night telling stories around the bonfire – which was even more enjoyable thanks to its juxtaposition with the cold winter air. You can find winter camping opportunities at just about any regular campground or Provincial Park, meaning a winter adventure is right at your fingertips.
3. See a country concert
As it gets colder and colder outside, most people start looking for fun indoor activities to take part in. Attending a concert is definitely one of the best. There is nothing more exciting and rewarding than seeing your favourite country artist live on stage. The music and energy of the crowd will get your adrenaline pumping, which will keep you nice and warm, even long after the show is over.
4. Host a potluck
During the winter season, when everything gets a little bit colder, darker and gloomier, it’s important to be around friends and family. So why not host a potluck? Have everyone bring over their favourite dish and then dig in to all of the delicious food. Make sure to start a communication thread though, so that you don’t wind up with 6 bean dips (not that that would ever be a bad thing). Preparing the food is a fun activity in itself, and it is sure to keep you warm on a cold winter day.
5. Go on a winter hike
Summer is beautiful because everything is green and colourful and warm. But winter scenery is some of the best there is. The sparkly snow and the crystalized ice is enough to take your mind off the cold. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, North America has plenty of glaciers that the public has access to. Or if you prefer something a little more low-key, simply go for a stroll through a park. Trees in the winter time are something out of a postcard.
6. Have an all-day movie marathon
This is most definitely a weekend activity, but choose a day to stay in your PJ’s all day, cozy up by the fire, eat snacks, drink hot cocoa and watch movies with your loved ones. To make it even more fun, you could choose a theme for the movies or, depending on how many people there are, you could each choose your favourite movie to watch. Did I mention snacks? Don’t forget the snacks.
7. Ice Skating
What good is a winter activities list, without the most classic (and Canadian) winter activity of them all? Ice skating is fun whether you’re on the ice, or on the sidelines watching. Whether you’re a Michelle Kwan or a three-legged dog. It doesn’t matter, it’s a magical winter activity that will have you smiling from ear to ear. And even if you can’t skate and absolutely hate being outside in the winter time, well at least you can find solace in hot toddies and cozy socks.