Snow Is No Reason To Stay Inside!

How to get out and about in the winter
By Angela Faeth
  |  Gorp.com
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Summer hiking is a cakewalk in the woods. The kids are eager, your legs are in shape, and the sun is warm. But then summer and fall fade and the cold winter months loom on the horizon.

For winter sports you need a little more motivation to break away from your cozy home. But you don't have to burrow into the winter months. Bundle up the kids, spare the dog those longing stares out the window, and get back into the woods.

Take a hike in the snow! Get out your cross-country skis or try snowshoeing. All you need, besides the gumption to leave that warm fire, is some warm layers, a little bit of equipment, and a good trail map. And it doesn't have to be a rugged outdoor adventure - you can just as readily take a family outing or a quick afternoon jaunt.

Go North To The Great Outdoors!

Head north to Vermont and New Hampshire. Many of the same areas you hike in the summer are great in the winter, too. If you can, get yourself a map designed specifically for winter use, whether for backcountry and cross-country skiing or for snowshoeing.

If you use a hiking trail map, keep in mind that it was designed with summer trail usage in mind. Follow these tips for a more enjoyable adventure:

Try These Activities

You can do just about everything you did in summer (except maybe swimming). To get you started, here are a few suggestions:

Pack a picnic, but take a hot drink in a thermos and substitute insulated pads for your usual picnic blanket. By the time you've gone a couple miles you'll be plenty warm enough (and hungry enough!) to sit outside.

Take a day trip to a cross-country touring center where the trails are groomed. If you haven't tried diagonal or skate skiing yet, take a lesson. The groomed trails allow you to move fast and get a great aerobic workout.

Go camping if you have a 4-season tent, or stay at a Bed and Breakfast. Many B&B; owners can point you towards good trails in their area.

Rent a pair of snowshoes. The new high-tech ones are light and easy to maneuver.

Try a nearby park, use your local recreation path, or just go out your backdoor. Break your own trail!

How do I get the kids and resident couch potatoes out in the snow?Make it short, make it sweet, and make it fun. Kids as well as adults love to be involved in the planning, so have them help pick a destination on the map and plan a route that is within their limits. Bring plenty of food and water and make frequent stops along the way. Whether snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, be sure to buy or rent equipment that fits. Nobody has fun if their feet hurt.

How do I get the kids and resident couch potatoes out in the snow?

Make it short, make it sweet, and make it fun. Kids as well as adults love to be involved in the planning, so have them help pick a destination on the map and plan a route that is within their limits. Bring plenty of food and water and make frequent stops along the way. Whether snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, be sure to buy or rent equipment that fits. Nobody has fun if their feet hurt.

Special thanks to Angela Faeth of Map Adventures Topographic Maps & Guides for providing this information.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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