Winter is our favorite time of year here in British Columbia. From the crunch of the snow beneath our feet as we walk into the office to the Aurora Borealis that we can enjoy at night, there’s nothing quite like this time of year. In fact, we love winter so much that we commissioned a t-shirt design to celebrate it this year. Still, we’re aware that not everyone loves winter as much as we do. One struggle that some people have with winter is the inability to get outside and enjoy it. Unless you’re versed in skiing or snowboarding, it can be hard to come up with outdoor activities to enjoy in the winter. If that sounds like you, then dig in: Here are 10 awesome outdoor activities you can enjoy this year without having to take a class first.
1.) Go Snow Tubing
Heart pounding. Stomach jumping into your throat. Wind flying through your hair. There’s little more exhilarating than shooting down a slope at high speeds, and you don’t need to know how to ski or snowboard to enjoy it. If you like that feeling of flying—the feeling you get when riding a rollercoaster or jumping off a high dive—you’ll love snow tubing. You don’t need any equipment to enjoy this outdoor activity. Just look up local snow tubing locations. Many of them offer day or half-day passes and will even cart you up the hill after each heart-rending fly down. Afterward, you may even be able to enjoy a mug of cocoa on location before heading home.
2.) Build a Snow Person
For many of us, building a snowman was the first thing we learned when our parents started sending us outside in the middle of winter. Building a snowman as an adult is just as fun as when you’re a kid, and now that you have the basics down, you can push the envelope a bit more. Create different sizes and shapes of snow people, or even create snow animals to decorate your lawn. If the weather holds, this can be a great, low-budget way to decorate your lawn in time for the holidays.
3.) Have a Snowball Fight
School canceled? Kids home—and restless—for the afternoon? Head outside together and launch an old-fashioned snowball fight. This is a great way to burn off some pent-up energy on a cold day. For a variation on this activity, you can create targets around the yard and have a snowball-throwing competition instead.
4.) Build a Snow Maze
You’ve heard of a hedge maze. You’ve heard of a corn maze. But have you ever considered the possibilities of a snow maze? If you have a large yard and a lot of snow, this can be a great activity and can help you while away hours in the snow. Draw a maze out in the snow first, making sure there is walking room between where each of the walls will be going. Then build the walls up along the lines. Afterward, you can invite friends and family to join you in navigating your way through the maze.
5.) Take an Outdoor Photo Shoot
The stark white of winter can provide a crisp, beautiful backdrop for photos, ensuring that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to get great results. Take a camera outside and photograph some of the wildlife that still remains this season, or pack the family up and take some magical family photos against a perfect white canvas.
6.) Paint Your Yard
Water, food coloring, and a spray bottle are all you need to create a spray-paint effect on your newly white lawn. Get a few colors together and go out and tag your yard for a fun time that lets you express your creativity. This is a great activity for the whole family, and kids of all ages can have fun tagging the snow in an environmentally-friendly fashion.
7.) Create a Snow Castle
Pots, pans, buckets, and molds all make great tools that you can use if you want to build a snow castle over the winter. Akin to the sand castle you may be used to making at the beach, when you create a snow castle, you don’t have to worry about the waves crashing in over your creation midway through.
8.) Go for a Hike
Hiking is some of the best exercise on the planet. Though some trails close for winter, not all of them do, so feel free to bundle up tight and head out for a winter hike—an experience that’s vastly different from a summer hike. You can even try Geocaching in the winter if you like a bit more of a goal with each hike.
9.) Have a Winter Bonfire
S’mores aren’t just for summer. In fact, winter can be a great time for a bonfire. Check in with your local fire department for permission, and then create a fire pit in your back yard. You can cook s’mores and hot cocoa on the fire and swap stories around it, allowing you to enjoy the out-of-doors this winter even at night.
10.) Create a Winter Mini-Golf Course
Normally, you might not feel comfortable golfing in your yard, afraid of creating hard-to-repair divots, but the winter is a whole different story. Stomp the snow down to create a path for your balls, build obstacles, and use tin cans as holes to create a mini-golf course that you and your family can enjoy. Pro tip: Use colored golf balls to keep from losing them in the snow.
At the end of the day, it’s important to get outdoors and make your own fun. Just because winter has strewn itself across your path doesn’t mean you have to spend the next six months indoors. Stave off cabin fever by keeping an arsenal of ideas at your fingertips so that anytime you need or want to get outside, you can.