From skating rinks to ski hills, as a child, I was encouraged to participate in popular Canadian winter sports. A few years ago, while cleaning out my closet, I stumbled across my childhood ice skates. After squeezing my foot into the tattered leather casing, I remembered gliding to the music at the local skating arena when I was a kid. The combination of this nostalgic moment and a belated appreciation for the privilege to learn led me to sign up for adult skating lessons.
For many years I blamed the cold, dark winters for keeping me indoors. But, skating just one time 'round the ice as an adult made me realize that my insecurities about my age, and my weight, have kept me from pursuing outdoor winter sports. I soon realized that I was the only one who was losing out by not taking advantage of some of these winter wonders that have intrigued me from a distance, and that I was also missing the opportunity to meet new people, and fully enjoy the outdoors.
Looking to make the most of the winter? Try these fun and seasonal activities today!
Dog Sledding: For thousands of years dog sledding was a mode of transportation, and now you too can mush through the breathtaking winter scenery. In fact, dog sledding is catching on as an alternative to snowmobiling, eliminating the noise and fumes. You don't have to have your own team of dogs to go for a ride - tour operators are available throughout the country and offer everything from training to adventure trips for dedicated mushers, to half-hour rides for families or beginners looking to try something new on a wintry weekend.
Tubing: If you like tobogganing, snow tubing is one winter attraction you don't want to miss! Snow tubing has become a favourite alternative winter activity for a lot of people, especially families. Just imagine racing down a mountainside in an oversized inner tube! Snow tubing has developed as an alternative to skiing and skating because some people feel it is safer, easier and more enjoyable than other snow activities. The tubes at the Canadian resorts are specially designed for use on the snow and fasten to the t-bar or Poma to lift you back to the top.
Skijoring: For dog lovers across Canada, skijoring is one of the most exciting, yet least known sports. It is the clever combination of cross-country skiing and dog sledding. Although all dogs pull instinctively, make sure that your canine weighs in at 55 pounds – minimum! All you need is a properly fitted harness for your dog and a strong leash with a built-in stopper. Strap on a pair of skies, grab hold of the leash, and get ready for the perfect ride.
Snowshoeing: If you're a walker, runner or hiker, and want to try a new outdoor sport, snowshoeing is worth a try. Today's equipment is much lighter than the original contraptions, making it easier and safer to trudge through the snow. The newer models are made of metal, and have cleats for built-in traction. Plus, this easy-to-learn sport will build up your cardiovascular strength and increase your speed.
Ringette: A relatively new sport, ringette was invented in 1963 in Ontario and is a fast-paced team sport played on ice. Players use a straight stick to pass, carry, and shoot a rubber ring to score goals.
Curling: Curling has come a long way since its early days. This one-time unconventional sport has gone trendy – and with good reason. It's easily accessible, affordable and great social fun. The fitness and cardiovascular benefits are excellent - especially if you're doing the sweeping.