________ing in a winter wonderland
September 9, 2008 7:49 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee and I are very outdoorsy. This summer we enjoyed hiking, mountain biking and kayaking. We're looking for some low-cost winter sports and outdoor activities so that we can continue to enjoy the great outdoors through the late fall, winter and early spring.

So, outside of cross country skiing and snowshoeing, what do MeFites enjoy doing outside in the wintertime?
posted by aleahey to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A few years ago I got a pair of ice skates for $2 at a tag sale (new ones vary in price, probably $20 for the cheapest possible). When it's cold enough for the water to have frozen and it's not all covered in snow, it's very fun to skate up a small river or on a pond you were swimming in a few months before.
posted by chowflap at 8:02 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Snow angels and snow hammocking. =)
posted by ginagina at 8:03 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by Bardolph at 8:05 AM on September 9, 2008

Actually, sledding/tobogganing is a lot of fun, and you can get a great workout walking up back up the hill over and over!
posted by brandman at 8:10 AM on September 9, 2008

Best answer: Winter is the best time to go backpacking. No bugs, no beer-swilling yahoos, no crowds, water available everywhere (in the form of melted snow), and there are fewer restrictions on where you can camp. You'll have to put up with coworkers and friends telling you you're crazy, but the little secret is, with the right gear and preparation, you'll always be warm and comfortable. Some of the best times I've ever had in the woods have been in the winter.

A three-season tent will be adequate below treeline. You'll need some warmer (synthetic or wool) clothes, of course, but they can be found cheaply enough as long as you're not after the lightest, highest tech stuff. You'll need a warmer sleeping bag, which can be rented or bought second hand.
posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Depends on what parts you're in. Here in St. Louis, we can rely on maybe one decent snow, and a couple bitter cold snaps. We can also rely on one weekend where it's 70 and *everyone* goes to one park.

If you get a lot of shallow snowfalls, and no permasnow all winter, map out some cross country trails, maybe just overland runs at the local park. In snow, you can do this run in your hiking boots.

I've seen conversions for mountain bikes to put skis on the front and a giant-knobbed tire on the back, but that's not "low cost".
posted by notsnot at 8:19 AM on September 9, 2008

Best answer: Most snowboard resorts will allow people to hike their hills at night. Moon boarding is incredible and free. If you don't have the boarding gear borrow or rent it.
posted by birdlips at 8:37 AM on September 9, 2008

Seems like cross-country skis are something you should check out.
posted by Class Goat at 10:46 AM on September 9, 2008

Keep hunting seasons in mind if you are winter hiking and wear blaze orange.
posted by buttercup at 12:26 PM on September 9, 2008

As an aside, have you considered getting some lights for your Mountain Bike rides? They are incredibly handy now that the days are getting shorter.
posted by neilkod at 2:36 PM on September 9, 2008

Most snowboard resorts will allow people to hike their hills at night.

You might also find some of these snowboard resorts with the old fashioned name of ¨ski areas¨. Many in the US are on National Forest land, and you might notice that the thing you buy to use the lifts is a ¨lift ticket¨. If you want to walk up with snowshoes, you don´t need a lift ticket, even during the day.

If you plan to go out at night, check on where snow making/grooming equipment will be in use first, as it´s dangerous to be around and the operators won´t expect anyone to be in the way.
posted by yohko at 3:00 PM on September 9, 2008

Best answer: Build a snow cave or a quinzhee (check out books on these...or even better sign up for a winter camping course it is really awesome as mentioned above). Backcountry skiing, be it telemarking, A/T, or cross-country are fabulous. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing probably have an easier learning curve (you can teach yourself) and are cheaper to boot.
Sledding 2nded; and, you don't have to sled at the park where everyone else is sledding...you could sled after you have snowshoed into your hut. Hut trips (some parts of the National Forest have huts or cabins or fire lookouts that you can rent).

Have fun!
posted by fieldtrip at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2008

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