While skiers and snowboarders celebrate the arrival of winter; for the rest of us, winter can put a real damper on our joy for outdoor activities. The darkness, the cold, the extra layers of clothing. But winter doesn't have to be a drag...sometimes it just takes a bit more creativity! Here are a few Cairn Crew favorites that always inspire us to get out of our cozy beds and get out there.
Pro Tip from the Cairn Crew: Set yourself up for success. If you’re headed out for a cold-weather activity, wear or pack items that are going to keep you comfortable and happy. It sounds obvious, but wearing the right gloves, packing a warm beverage, and protecting your skin (yes, even in winter) can play a major role in whether you have a good winter day outside or a not so grand one.
Our recommendations, featured in a recent Monthly Cairn Collection:
Smartwool Liner Gloves: Made of a Merino wool blend, they offer breathability and performance that lock in warmth even when they’re wet. Plus, they’re touch screen friendly so you can stay in touch, navigate trail apps, or play some hang out tunes without freezing your fingers off.
Cusa Everyday Wellness Herbal Tea: This high-quality, highly-portable tea dissolves completely in hot or cold water. Because it’s caffeine-free, you can warm up with it anywhere, anytime without fear of the jitters.
Green Goo Hand Goo: Gotta love a name like that. Slather this amazing, all-natural balm on your hands, face, really any exposed skin before you head out to protect it from the drying, chafing effects of cold, blustery winter days.
And now on to our winter activity recommendations. Get inspired, and get out there!
If you live in a snowy location but you’re not down for highspeed downhill, give snowshoeing a try. It doesn’t take much more skill than hiking, you can typically rent gear at a low cost (or buy it inexpensively), and if you’re lucky you can make your way to a cozy warming hut or beautiful snow-covered vista where you can enjoy a warm beverage and a snack. Check out state and national parks in your area – some offer free or low-cost ranger snowshoe tours, like this amazing one in our backyard at Crater Lake.
2) Snow tubing
Ok, again with a snow-focused activity, but snow tubing is a seriously good time. If there’s snow in your area, there’s probably a snow tubing location. Gather a group of friends and make it an afternoon of fun. Watching each other tubing down a hill is just as (if not more) entertaining than doing it yourself! Again, highly recommend toting along a warm beverage and snacks…those make everything better, don’t they?
Hiking, no matter your location, can be a year-round activitiy; but winter hiking is highly underrated. The cool thing about a new season is that it can give you access to a location that you may not have access to during other times of year because of crowds, conditions, or other environmental factors. Even if you’re hiking on a trail you’ve covered dozens of times during the summer, you’d be surprised how dramatically different the views and experience can be during winter. Do a little research and get out on those trails!
4) Yurt or Cabin stay
This one comes with a slightly higher price tag than the others, but renting a yurt or rustic cabin at a campground for a night or two in the winter doesn't typically come with a hefty fee. Often to book a yurt in the summer, you have to make a reservation the second the opportunity opens up. In the winter, your odds are typically a whole lot friendlier. Not all of us fully embrace winter tent camping, but a cozy yurt or rustic cabin that sometimes includes a little heater? Yep, we can handle that.
5) Bird watching
This takes little to no effort and can bring you a surprising amount of joy. Go outside. Watch birds. No, you don’t have to understand or know what they are (though it can make the experience a bit more interesting – get some tips from the Audubon Society). Throw together your own little birdfeeder basically for free if you have some space outside your home and see who shows up. This is an especially easy way to entertain little kids or little kids at heart.
If all else fails, do some indoor activities to prep you for your next adventure. Try the climbing gym or an obstacle course gym. Look for free intro classes or community days to try out a new activity. Get outside when you can, because research shows that it can have dramatic effects on your health and mood; but trying something new, inside or out, can keep you from sliding headfirst into a case of cabin fever.
What's your go-to winter activity? Tell us in the comments!