Put on those layers and get out into the crisp, invigorating air. Winter does not mean family sports time is on hiatus until spring! With all the great outdoor activities, there is no excuse to stay indoors during the winter months. If anything, the sports that are only available in the winter are more reason to get out there and get going with the whole family... and look forward to the thermometer dropping.
On a cold, snowy winter day, what's better than a walk in the fluffy stuff? Or maybe a snowman? Snowshoeing! More than a walk, not quite a run -- and access to off road adventures near and far -- snowshoeing is a serious winter activity that doesn't require a heavy equipment investment. Pack a picnic lunch in a backpack and take the family on outings in local conservation lands, or even on more strenuous hills. Your meal in the crisp open air never tasted better.
When you think skiing, do you think super G and slalom? Well, not all skiing is downhill. Cross-country skiing is just that -- cross-country. Much like going on a family jog, you can find cross-country trails at many well-known ski areas, or you can take advantage of the freshly fallen powder in your own neighborhood. Before the plows come by, anyway. Although cross-country ski equipment is an investment, look for barely used skis at secondhand sports shops.
If you live in a northerly region, you know that a stretch of very cold weather with minimal precipitation means the ponds will freeze over and it's time to skate. You've been taking the kids to the local skating pond for years, but this year, get out on the ice with them. Pick up a hockey stick for you (it's handy for balance when you're acclimating) and take a shot. Before long, you may be starting a family hockey league. And if you live in warmer areas? There is a skating rink close by. Check open skate hours and get going.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding aren't just for the young and cool. They are for everyone! When the kids ask to go to the local ski hill, join them in the chair lift line. It's so much more fun than waiting in the ski lodge wondering how the snow is. Rent the latest equipment until you are at or return to a sustainable skill level (the equipment has changed a lot in the last couple of decades) and schedule a family lesson. Those bruises from falling? Totally worth it for the laughs you enjoyed with your kids -- and nothing an ice pack and acetaminophen won't handle.
Family bonding doesn't take a vacation when it gets cold out. Instead of staying indoors this winter, try snowshoeing, skating and skiing as a family. Winter sports for the family are a fun way to stay active, stay bonded, stay healthy -- and stay together.
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