Have you been constantly checking the weather forecast as the mountains continue to collect snow? So have we! These are our top five sports to give a go before winter turns to spring:
Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Also known as alpine skiing, downhill skiing is an activity ski resorts offer with groomed runs in marked and patrolled areas. There’s nothing like experiencing the beauty of snow capped mountains on your way up a chairlift, and the rush of flying down the mountain, just to get to the bottom and do it all over again! Downhill skiing gives you a great excuse to travel somewhere new and capture some fresh mountain air. There is always an adventure to be had whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the sport.
Photo Credit: Visit Almaty (@visitalmaty)
Cross-Country and Skate Skiing
If you’re not into fast speeds and steep terrain, cross-country skiing is the sport for you! Why spend your time at the gym to get your cardio in when you can be outside?! Nordic skiing is guaranteed to get your blood pumping because you rely on your own motion to move yourself across the snow. The classic style of movement is to stride forward to propel yourself, or you can use the side-to-side skate motion aided by ski poles. This full body activity is a relatively low risk winter sport that is great for families or friends (and even your pups)! This sport also gets bonus points for no lift lines since you’re skiing on flat terrain! Just show up, gear up, and get out there.
Photo Credit: Jasper Guy (@jasperguy)
Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding
If you don’t already know the feat of skinning up a mountain, and the surge of adrenaline as you navigate your way down… this can be your year to learn! Backcountry skiing is a challenging sport that rewards you with endless new terrain to explore. Unlike downhill skiing, backcountry skiing is done outside of patrolled boundaries with more technical gear. Once you get acquainted with avalanche awareness, you will also need to learn how to use a beacon (locator if someone gets buried in an avalanche), probe (helps pinpoint location and depth of person in snow), and shovel (for moving snow to get person out).
There are no lift lines in the backcountry, which means it’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to get up to the top. You can climb your way up, snowmobile, or even take a helicopter. Whichever way you choose, it’s a guaranteed adventure!
There’s no need to wait until next spring to go hiking and exploring the outdoors when snowshoes can keep you afloat! Snowshoeing is basically an extension of hiking because you walk over snow with the help of some funky shaped gear that prevents you from sinking into the snow. Just like the above mentioned sports, snowshoeing gets you out into winter wonderland while getting your body moving. There are different types of snowshoes, depending on the terrain you want to explore! There are flat terrain, rolling terrain, and mountain terrain snowshoes:
Flat terrain snowshoes are designed for casual adventures that only need a simple binding system, modest traction features, and lack of heel lift for steep slopes. Rolling terrain snowshoes are designed for moderately sloped terrain with crampons for traction, easily adjustable binding system, and a heel lift. Mountain terrain snowshoes are designed for steep and icy terrain, with a crampon system, sophisticated binding system to accommodate various boot styles, and a heel lift.
Depending on what type of terrain you want to explore, one of these snowshoe styles will get you there!
Photo Credit: Taylor Brandon (@house_42)
Somewhat similar to rock climbing, this sport will take you on some of the coolest winter adventures you’ve been on. It will also challenge you physically in ways most sports don’t! Climbing in general requires overall endurance as well as core stability and lots of grip strength. In the photo below, this climber is using an ice axe to work their way up the ice. They are also likely wearing crampons on their feet to toe-in to the ice.
There are various techniques to learn and use for ice climbing, making it quite the rewarding sport to get into!
Photo Credit: Jon Hieb (@hiebj)
Winter shouldn’t be a cold, dreary stretch of months spent waiting for longer days and warmer weather. Get connected with your local retailers and let them share their stoke with you! There are plenty of outdoor sports for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy!
Need some tips on Renting vs. Buying? Look no further!