Who Says Winter Has to be Spent Hibernating?
While there’s no end to outdoor ideas for most seasons, winter always seems to get passed by. While there’s some comfort in thinking about winter as a time to cozy up, chill out and relax, it’s just as inviting to think of all the fun and even therapeutic activities you can get up to during those cold months.
Of course, everyone knows about skiing, but many see it as something too advanced for newcomers. But there are many ski resorts that cater to new skiers and make the experience fun and safe. The Big White ski resort in British Columbia, for example, offers plenty of easy trails and places for beginners to practice everything from simple moves to getting off and on the ski lift. Stateside, the Winter Park Resort in Colorado boasts beautiful scenery, plenty of practice space and areas for true beginners as well as those who have the basic moves down but need wide runs to practice their skills. You can find great rates on ski hire in Serre Chevalier here, or ski rental in Tignes, and you can find more useful resources at the bottom of this page.
In the Alpes some of the best resorts for downhill skiing include Tignes, Val D’isere and Meribel. For the daredevils amongst us skiing the Vallee Blanche (the world’s most famous off piste descent) is a worthy challenge. Having a guide is absolutely essential if this is your cup of tea.
Cross Country Skiing
Another well-known winter activity is cross country skiing. Sometimes the thought of strapping on skis can be a bit intimidating for those new to the sport but, essentially, it’s a bit like skating. Cross country isn’t about speed or daring feats on steep slopes, it’s about a full body exercise that lets you traverse wide swathes of the country with relative ease. Cross country skiing can be done even in areas that don’t have dedicated ski resorts and many well-known hiking trails double as cross country ski trails in the winter. For those looking to try their luck with a dedicated resort that can offer ski rental and instruction, Lapland Lake in New York offers plenty of groomed trails that are easy enough for beginners as well as options for advanced skiers.
Where there’s cross country skiing, there’s almost always options for snow shewing. Snow shoeing may make you think of walking on tennis rackets and, to be fair, there are shoes in that iconic style. But modern day snow shoes are made with metal cleats on the bottom to help with traction and that iconic wide base to improve stability and distribute your weight more evenly on the snow. Snow shoeing can feel a lot like marching and it provides a great workout for avid hikers who don’t want the cold weather to keep them from enjoying beautiful and natural scenery.
Every four years the country becomes enamored with bobsledding all over again. Something about being strapped into a high speed sled makes us all think back to the thrill we experienced as kids rushing down the hill for the first – or fortieth – time. Adults who want to take that thrill to the next level and give bobsledding a try should consider Whiteface in Lake Placid, New York. This winter resort offers everything from live ice skating shows and hockey games to a bobsledding experience that’s truly unique. The experience lets newbies try out bobsledding equipped with everything from a top of the line bobsled to an experienced brakeman and driver so they’re free to sit back, hang on tight and enjoy the ride.
A Unique Wine Tasting
When most people go on a wine tasting tour, they head for the sunny valleys of California, France and Spain. But a mere four hours from Detroit of all places there’s a little known gem when it comes to both resorts and wine. Ice wine can only be made in areas with a wind chill cold enough to create the perfect grapes for the process and the Chateau Grand Traverse winery in Traverse City, Michigan has the perfect temperature, weather conditions and environment for their wine to mature and their fans to enjoy it.
Here are some of our favourite services and places to stay.
For those on holiday with young children, escaping to the mountains means leaving the kids behind with a great nanny. For those in one of the many family ski resorts in the Alps, Katia from Meri Nannies may be able to help you to find a great nanny.
Airport transfers are a necessary part of a winter holiday. In Europe, most people headed for the Alpes usually land at one of the major airports such as Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble or Lyon. If you’re headed from one of these major airports to ‘The Three Valleys’ then Mountain Transfer can help you get there with their handy airport transfers. 3 Sixty Alps also do airport transfers from the major airports with fully insured rides and excellent reviews.
With 15 winter seasons under their belt The Cool Bus are also highly recommended for hassle free airport transfers, with portable DVD players and USB chargers included on-board.
If you’re looking for a wide selection of property rentals, or to rent your own property then Tignes Angels may be able to help. They can also add to the holiday relaxation factor with massages, shopping and catering on offer as well. In Val Thorens and La Plagne Les Hauts Bois can help you find the right place to rent. In Samoens and Morillon you’ll find premier chalets and apartments with Alps Accommodation
For the warmer months Torico provide downhill, enduro and road bikes for hire in the lovely Morzine.
Highly recommended for snowboarding lessons in Val D’isere is Snowboard Val D’isere where you can get both private and group lessons from great instructors.
There’s no reason to let winter keep you from enjoying the Great Outdoors. In fact, spending time outside in the fresh air and bright sunshine has been shown to improve the symptoms of depression as well as the quality of the sleep you get. It’s also said to be just as therapeutic as actual therapy and the grounding nature supplies has been linked to improvement in reducing inflammation and energizing the body. So don’t let plunging temperatures or wintry conditions hold you back. Instead, bundle up and get ready to make this winter the most adventurous ever.
Check out a few tips for staying healthy during the winter and 6 foods to keep your body warm during winter.