I know for me winter is a tricky time of year. The days are shorter and the temps are lower giving us every excuse to stay inside and be vegetative. That, however, is neither good for us physically or mentally. The vitamin D we get from sunlight and the cortisol and endorphins released from exercise are what my body craves year round. But how can we get these things come winter?
For me, winter is a perfect time to let out your inner child.
No matter your age, there is something magical about snow. If we think like kids and focus on the magic and not on icy roads and school delays, what’s not to love? It provides a peaceful, unblemished canvas of the world on which we can go snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, ice fishing, or just go outside and build a snowman or a fort with (or without) our kids.
Now that you’ve decided to get out here are some tips on how:
· Dressing correctly is essential. Although many of us have cotton tees and jeans hanging around the house, try to avoid wearing these fabrics on your winter adventures. If they get wet, either from snow or sweat, they will no longer keep you warm. Also, dress in layers. You want to have enough layers to stay warm while sedentary, but because you naturally warm up when you exercise, you will want to be able to shed a few to avoid sweating and getting a chill. Next, don’t forget to cover up your ears and hands. Over the years I’ve invested in a couple pair of high quality mittens because if my hands get cold, being outside just isn’t fun anymore. And last of all, remember the sun. As a kid, I didn’t think about the sun’s effects in winter until one day Kristen Bourrett came to 4th grade with a face burn and a ski goggle tan. The sun is especially potent in the winter so make sure to put sunscreen on and wear a pair of sunglasses or goggles appropriate for the day’s adventure.
· Drink up. It isn’t intuitive to drink when it is cold outside, but make sure to bring some type of liquid. I am sometimes better at convincing myself to sip down some hot chocolate while adventuring in the winter, but sometimes some crisp cool water is just what my body needs.
· Bring a sweet treat. Make sure to have a quick snack on hand just in case. Normally, I am an advocate for healthy eating, but when I am outside exercising in the winter sugars and fats are what my body craves. So give in if you want to eat a candy bar. Just remember that your food might freeze. You want to avoid bringing something that might turn into an ice cube and send you to the dentist as a result.
Now that you are prepared, what can you do with yourself?
· If you own a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis, the Ruby Vista golf course is a great location in town to get in a few laps in during the winter. Plenty of people have already been out there laying tracks around the course.
· Alternatively, check out the Snobowl facebook page to see about their schedule. Rentals are available onsite and the beginner hill has been open already this year.
· If you are a snowmobiler, there are plenty of places to go in the area. Although the upper parts of Lamoille remain closed to motorized vehicles, there are plenty of other places to explore in Elko county.
· If you just want to get out and go for a walk in the snow, give snowshoeing a try. It is essentially just walking with tennis rackets strapped to your boots. In Elko, you can borrow snowshoes from the BLM, and in Winnemucca you can rent them from us at the Nevada Outdoor School office.
· Stay tuned… starting in late January, we will be partnering with the BLM, Forest Service and Nevada State Parks to host monthly night hikes in the Elko area. We will be posting details on our Nevada Outdoor School- Elko Facebook page closer to the date.
Who knows, you might make a few new friends in the snow.
I hope to see you out there!
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