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How Do You Embrace Winter?

Our recent snowstorm here in Seattle had me daydreaming about skiing, snowshoeing and all of the other fun activities people do in the snow.

It reminded me of my childhood, too. Growing up in Michigan, snow was on the ground from Halloween through April. We'd put on a pair of ice skates just to get from one friend’s house to another. We built snow forts, had snowball fights and sledded down our neighborhood hill more times than I can remember.

SnowshoeingNow that I’m all grown up, I've traded snow forts and sleds for a pair of snowshoes. There is a peacefulness about walking in fresh snow. Snowshoeing is basically walking with shoes that help you "float" on the snow.

Once used mostly for employment and survival, today's smaller, lighter snowshoes are comfortable to wear for recreation (read more about the history of snowshoeing). Snowshoeing is one of the most economical snow sports and is getting increasingly popular. In fact, a 2009 industry study shows participation jumped 17% last winter over the previous year.

Cross-country skiingAnother favorite way for me to get out in the snow is cross-country skiing. I'm a novice, but that's one of the things I like about it—you don't have to be overly skilled. Gliding along the snow, I can take in the winter scenery and cover more ground at my speed: relaxed. Cross-country skiing gets the heart pumping and therefore keeps me warm despite the cold temperatures. As with snowshoeing, the risk of serious injury is low, and the cost to rent or buy equipment is considerably less than with downhill skiing.

According to a poll by the SIA Physical Activity Council,  more than 9.4 million people identified themselves as skiers, riders or snowshoers but did not participate during the 2008-2009 winter. Many said they didn't have time due to family and work commitments, but surprisingly the next most popular answer was that they had "no one to go with." Imagine, nearly 900,000 folks didn't go because they didn't want to go alone.

If that's you, REI Adventures offers an array of weekend and week-long trips that allow you to enjoy a variety of winter sport activities. Check out REI Adventures’ Winter Sports Trips or, for those looking for single-day outings, contact your local REI store.

So I’d like to know, how do you embrace winter?

Posted on at 2:50 PM

Tagged: Cross-country skiing, REI Adventures, Snow, Snowshoeing, Travel and winter sports

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Sorry to post a meta-comment here, but can't really find a better place.

I subscribe to your blog in Google Reader, and here's what I see when you post a new story:

"all the ot...ters" perhaps?

It would be nice if there was more of a summary in there, beyond the first 100 character that you currently use. Why not the whole article? At least the first para...

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Where did you grow up in Michigan? I am out in Tacoma, WA now, but grew up in southwestern Michigan, and went to college (+ a few years) in the Keweenaw Peninsula. I love it out here, but I also miss Michigan dearly.

As to winter activity, the past few years I've really wanted to get into snowshoeing, or more specifically winter camping on snowshoes, but I'm too much of a social person, and none of my friends have committed to it yet. I should convince them to buy snowshoes (I don't even own a pair yet), and then do some day trips and hopefully build them up to overnights and then some, but that takes effort. For now, snowboarding 2-3 times a winter is about what I get, and hopefully this year a trip or two to rent cross country skis, perhaps in Leavenworth.


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