In the Northern Hemisphere, December through March are known to be the coldest, darkest, and all-around most trying months of the year — but they don’t have to be. Once you learn to embrace winter and all of its offerings, the snowy season suddenly becomes much more enjoyable. From hut-to-hut nordic ski trails to snowshoeing in national parks, here are eight snowy adventures that will make your winter a blast.
Cross Country Skiing
A winter sport that is accessible to all ages and levels, cross-country skiing makes it easy to get outside and enjoy winter. Many towns offer trails on golf courses or walking paths, but for a real nordic adventure, head to Kingfield, Maine. Maine Huts and Trails offers miles and miles of groomed double track and skate skiing trails between their cozy huts, which are available to book for multi-day ski excursions in the winter wilderness.
A winter sport that combines adorable husky pups and the fast track excitement of a winter toboggan, dog sledding is one of the best ways to explore Alaska in the winter. Based out of Fairbanks, Rod’s Alaska Guide Service offers multiple dog sledding tours with their Iditarod-trained dogs. We suggest booking the Four Hour Aurora Dog Sledding Adventure, which takes you on a midnight tour to see the Alaskan landscape beneath the Northern Lights.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Unbeknownst to many, the best time to see Yellowstone National Park is not in the summertime when the park is crowded and the roads are congested. No, the best time to experience Yellowstone is in the winter months, when the park is both exceptionally beautiful and blessedly quiet. For the ultimate Yellowstone experience, book a snowmobile tour from the park’s southern entrance in Wyoming. The six-hour ride includes 100 miles of snowmobiling through the park and a lunchtime stop at Old Faithful to watch the geyser erupt.
Estes Park, Colorado
Backcountry skiing, a sport that eschews the ski lift for self-propelled travel up the mountain, is quickly becoming one of the more popular winter activities among the ski set. And why not? The sport allows you to save hundreds of dollars on lift tickets, get some good cardio, and practically guarantees fresh tracks wherever you go. Colorado Mountain School offers day-long courses to introduce you to the fundamentals of the sport, including the art of “skinning” and tips on the decision making in the backcountry.
Skijoring, a sport which requires being pulled by a horse whilst on skis, is undoubtedly winter’s craziest sport. A popular activity at western winter festivals, anyone with some courage can sign up for the skijoring obstacles course, which includes a set of jumps on a snowy track. If this sounds terrifying, fear not, watching the sport is equally thrilling and highly entertaining.
Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin
Most anglers can’t do with just three seasons of fishing, which is why ice fishing was invented. But the winter sport, which requires drilling holes into frozen lakes to set bait, is truly an enjoyable pastime. With its plentiful lakes and long, cold winters, ice fishing for walleye has reached cult-level status in Wisconsin. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned fisherman, head to Lake Winnebago for a chartered day on the ice.
Yosemite National Park, California
For all the walkers and hikers out there, wintertime is no reason to give up your favorite activity. A pair of snowshoes can be strapped onto any winter boot and will allow you to walk through snowy trees, climb to the tops of mountains, and even explore national parks. Yosemite National Park is a particularly beautiful area for snowshoeing, with varying trails that allow you to gain elevation in order to witness the park’s most scenic points.
Climbers are notorious adrenaline junkies. And when winter hits, a climber’s technical skills can be put to the test when they ascend frozen waterfalls and ice-covered rocks. Every winter, Bozeman, Montana, is home to the Bozeman Ice Festival, a multi-day event that celebrates the sport of ice climbing. Located in Hyalite Canyon, a world-renowned ice climbing spot only 30 minutes from town, the festival offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced ice clinics, for those looking to learn the sport or to hone existing skills.