The Winter’s Edge
Every year we say goodbye to the months that let us live comfortably in our t-shirts and side stripe shorts, the evenings that served us up 20-degree sunsets at 9:30 pm, and the mornings that welcomed us with breezes, no cooler than the sun that beat down. These months have their merit and we hold the memories of warm park picnics and breezy bike paths dearly, but there is a definite advantage to living with a willingness to experience the colder season openly. While many folks turn to a life of baked good domesticity, wrapped in the blankets of holiday movies, early nights, and late mornings, some choose to venture off the beaten path to reap the rewards of winter adventure.
Dip your Toes or Jump right in?
When winter wraps its head around the corner of your back patio to let you know that sitting outside with a book is no longer a viable option. You can run straight into the cold wind, or you can cautiously inch your way through it. Either way, there are so many things to do in the winter to feed your adventurous spirit.
Provided you have cold weather you can find a group of locals who are into ice fishing and willing to show you the ropes (or the lines…), if you love hiking you can elevate your day trips by picking up or borrowing a pair of snowshoes, and whether you live in the city or the countryside you can find somewhere to go ice skating.
Between city centres, parks, vineyards, conservation areas, frozen ponds, hockey arenas, breweries, and festivals: there are endless options for you to take advantage of some winter activities, mild enough to tackle the cold without needing a degree in risk-taking. That said, today our aim is to highlight some of the coolest adventure-based, outdoor winter activities.
Biking on Ice
Sure, you’ve ridden your trusted, tuned-up twenty-one speed to grab a coffee and groceries during the spring, or maybe you ride a fixed gear that makes for the perfect inner-city scrambler to transport you to your evening yoga class in August. Maybe you’ve even pack-biked your way through the impossibly beautiful hills of eastern Quebec that roll like the waves of Saint Laurent. But have you ever bundled up to tackle elevated courses through the crisp lacy snow of the mountains?
In terms of outdoor winter activities “Fatbiking” has become one of the more popularized methods of travel for thrill seekers who don’t want to be limited by the change of seasons. The name comes from the addition of oversized wheels and tires to an otherwise normal mountain bike. The tires allow riders to traverse snow-packed runs through the trees and even some powdery sections of trails. If trying out a Fatbike is something that interests you, you can rent them virtually anywhere during the summer or winter.
Check out this fantastic Fatbike festival taking place at Jay Peak in Vermont. It revolves around everything related to winter mountain biking and even features a timed downhill Fatbike race.
Not your Parent’s GT Racer
If you have a love for elevated mountain slopes and skiing, but also know how to take on a mean toboggan run: this next outdoor activity might be the perfect addition to your winter bucket list.
Snowbikes are the perfect meld of the classic GT racer toboggan and proper all-mountain skis. Made for those who want to mix it up on the slopes, they look like adult trikes that can handle some serious speed. Though they take a moderate level of skill and coordination to operate, the reward of exploring a ski resort in a brand new way is priceless. You can take it easy on some bunny hills or if you’re feeling absolutely wild you can make your way into the terrain park to take one of these thrill enablers off of some jumps. To try this out for the first time search for Snowbike rentals in an area near you.
Have a look at this Snowbike rental package in Breckenridge Colorado to get a feel for how they work.
Animal Lovers Unite
If you love animals as much as we do, you have probably visited your fair share of winter farms. Maybe you’ve fed some adorable goats dressed in their winter coats, or ridden on a sleigh, towed by some Clydesdales. Maybe you have even spent the day dog sledding through farmer’s fields or across frozen ponds, but have you ever strapped your skis on and done your best impression of a winterized water skier being towed by a dog or a horse?
If you have: kudos to you, you’ve already discovered the exciting world of SkiJoring and we’re jealous! SkiJoring began hundreds of years ago as a means to travel through the snow by attaching a rope to some reindeer while wearing skis. The practice now exists as a high-octane, traditional winter sport where people participate in races and even ride through obstacle courses while being towed by a dog, reindeer, or even a horse.
If this is something you are keen to try we highly recommend doing so! Check out this SkiJorning adventure centre for dog owners, located in Halliburton, Ontario.
It is impossible to cover all of the exhilarating adventures you can take part in throughout the winter, like ice climbing in Rjukan, Norway, backcountry snowboarding in Nagano, Japan, snowmobile touring through the powder of Revelstoke, BC, or mountaineering in Patagonia, Argentina. The more you explore outdoor winter activities around the world, the more it feels as if winter is, but a fleeting moment. A window of opportunity without enough time to try out all of the exciting winter activities that are out there. We at GuidED encourage you to do your own research and to look into outdoor activities that interest you so that you can start writing your own winter bucket list for this winter and all of the winters to come. Be safe out there, but most importantly have fun facing the cold in search of winter adventure.