Even though the relatively warm weather makes us think that winter is far away, it is coming and will be here in the next several weeks. By the end of November, we can expect cold weather and maybe even snow… Yes! The four letter word, that many people would rather not hear…
The long term forecast for this winter (2016/17) for Great Lakes region is more than average amount of snow. Since we have to deal with winter, whether we want to or not, we might as well enjoy it, at least a little.
The winter in the Great Lakes region can be long. We are talking about 4 to 6 month. Therefore, finding a way to enjoy it is important. Otherwise, it will be just a dreadful season of snow shoveling, snow blowing, cold weather, and some days of white-knuckle driving.
So what can you do?… There are many cold weather activities that are a lot of fun. If you are physically active person you can ski downhill or snowboard, cross-country ski, or snowshoe.
If you are new to the sport, and not sure if you will enjoy it, you do not have to purchase the equipment. There are many places where you can rent it, and try it out to see if you like it. Of course, the downhill ski resorts all have equipment rentals. Many parks and dedicated cross-country ski places will also have gear available to try. This will often include skis and snowshoes.
Then there are even more “exotic” cold weather activities, like dog-mushing, and you don’t have to be a full time musher. There are places that provide dogs, equipment and also lessons, if you are new to it.
If you are not the type, that like to sweat too much, you can get out there on a snowmobile, or simply go sledding, or just go for a hike when the weather is nice. You can also get into ice-fishing.
For the extreme type, there is winter camping/backpacking and also ice-climbing. The camping doesn’t necessarily need to be extreme, as it can involve staying in the cabins in state parks, or yurts. However, for the adventures type, it would be staying in tent, or even snow cave, or igloo.
Since outdoor activities are very popular, there are plenty of resources available to get you started. I am talking about online instructions and locations, as well as equipment purchase and rental.
When shopping for the necessary equipment, you want to head to local stores first, to support local economy. If you cannot find what you are looking for locally, you can start your online search with REI and MEC, and also Amazon. Then there are many more specialized online stores, like for example New Moon Ski & Bike with very specialized cross-country skiing equipment.
There are no excuses, if you haven’t done so before, now is the time to get outdoors in the winter and start enjoying the season. I hope to run into you out there someday. Meanwhile, have fun!