Nothing To Do When the Temperature Drops? Think Again!
Ever feel like there's nothing to do when the temperature drops and the snow starts falling? Is your Mom tired of hearing, “There's nothing to do! I'm bored.” Well, if you are looking for something to do, why not try one of the most popular winter sports in the United States and just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, too. Get outside and get a taste for these fun winter sports!
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding are the two most popular winter sports in the United States. In 2007, nearly 5.5 million skiers and 5.1 million snowboarders hit the slopes. Believe it or not, 37 of the 50 states operate ski areas—everywhere from Alabama and Alaska to Missouri and Maryland. Can you guess which state operates the most ski areas? It's not California. Rather, it is New York, which has a total of 50 ski areas. Whether you choose to ski or ride, you'll have plenty of company as you fly down the slopes!
Skiing and snowboarding are both gear-intensive sports. For both sports, you will need a helmet, goggles, snow pants and a jacket, gloves and long underwear. To ski, you will need a pair of skis and poles and ski boots. To snowboard, you will need a snowboard boots and a snowboard. If you are a first-timer, sign up for a package rental and lesson package at the ski area or get fitted for your gear at a local winter sports outfitter. Fit is extremely important and you will need a professional to make sure your gear fits properly. Don't borrow gear from a friend unless you are certain it is your size. Correctly outfitted, you will minimize accidents, be more successful, and, most importantly, have more fun!
Whether you dream of slapping a puck past a goalkeeper or launching a high-flying triple spin through the air, it's cool to glide across the ice and a great way to spend time with your friends and family. Even if you don't live close to a frozen pond, you can still get in on the fun by finding a local indoor ice rink. If you are able to skate outdoors, remember only skate on approved ice. Just because the ice looks strong enough to hold, doesn't mean it can or will. And, just like swimming, never skate alone. Recreational skating a fun past time and is a great way to become comfortable on the ice. If you find that you have a knack for gliding and balance, you may want to take figure skating lessons or learn how to play ice hockey. All you need to get started is a pair of ice skates. Again, proper fit is important to having fun. Your skates should be snug but not tight and should be laced completely to the top to protect your ankle.
Sledding and Snowtubing
If you are lucky enough to wake up to a fresh blanket of snow, grab that sled or snowtube and head out to bomb down your favorite sledding hill. Make sure your sled is sturdy and that you can steer it. When you choose your sledding hill, make sure that it isn't too steep or covered in ice (you will not be able to control your sled) and, most importantly, check that it does not end near a street. Watch out for exposed rocks and trees—these are dangerous hazards. Once you have the right spot, zipping down the hill at what seems a million miles an hour will be great fun!
Snowshoeing is as easy as going for a hike in the woods. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and you will be ready to hit the trails, without your boots sinking down into the snow! Snowshoeing is an inexpensive alternative to skiing or snowboarding and anyone can do it. Rent a pair of snowshoes, get a trail map and you are ready to go! Want to add some flavor to your snowshoeing adventure? Turn it into a nature treasure hunt and see how many animals you can find. Or, see how many animal tracks you can identify in the snow.