Why winter makes me smile

Jan 21, 2020

I’m sitting at my desk with the sun shining through my window, blue skies overhead and the snow glistening like diamonds. I’ve been tasked with writing a blog about why going outdoors in the winter is good for you. It’s an easy one for me, the outdoors is literally calling to me right now. But I know that for some people, the idea of bundling up on a winters day and intentionally heading outside is far from appealing. I’m going to try to break down what I love about being outside in the winter and share some tips and tricks for planning an enjoyable winter outing.

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Dress the part

My husband has been a snowboard instructor for a few decades and one thing he says to his staff—and to our daughter—is that being cold is a decision you made when you left the house this morning. Simply put, you can’t expect to enjoy winter if you’re not dressed for the elements. This means a warm jacket, snow pants, waterproof mitts, a hat, a buff or a neckwarmer and lots of wicking layers underneath. If you’re snowshoeing or hiking, you’ll get sweaty while you’re moving and cool down quickly when you stop. It’s important to be able to remove a layer when you’re hot and have it handy when you stop to bundle back up. Keep a set of hand warmers in your backpack for extra cold days.

 

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Pack snacks

I don’t care if you’re five or fifty-five, if you’re headed on a winter adventure snacks are key. Whether it’s a thermos of hot cocoa, a bag of trail mix with chocolate chips or a PB and J sandwich, snacks can serve as a quick pick me up and a boost of energy on the midway point of your winter adventure. For the record, I’m all for aprés snacks too—from local beer and local wine to a steaming chai latte, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for bundling up and getting out there. Have you heard you can snowshoe at both Georgian Hills Vineyard and Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery and then head in for a tasting? Talk about the perfect winter combo.

 

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Take a lesson or go with a guide

If you’ve never gone snowshoeing in the forest or downhill skiing at a resort, it can be intimidating. How do you know what to bring? Where to go? How to get started? Thankfully, BruceGreySimcoe is home to some amazing outdoor guides ready and willing to take you out. Free Spirit Tours, At Last Adventures, Eco Adventures and OSM Adventure Travel all offer their own spin on winter fun. You’ll be in good hands and they’ll ensure that whether you’re winter caving or snowshoeing to The Grotto, you’re winter experience will be a good one.

In addition, all five downhill resorts in the region offer lessons—often packaged with rentals—to get you started on the slopes. Find out more right here.

 

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Start small and build

So, you’ve found the courage to bundle up and head out. You’ve packed your snacks and you’ve layered for the weather. My next suggestion would be to start small. You don’t have to conquer a 10km section of the Bruce Trail—you can start with a lunch time walk through your local park or along a rail trail. Leave your snowshoes handy so you can strap them on for a loop after you get the mail. Whenever you see sunny skies and you have half an hour to spare, take the plunge and head outside. That precious Vitamin D is even more important during the winter months!

 

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Embrace the satisfaction of coming back in

As much as I love bundling up and heading out in the cold, I also love the feeling of taking off all those layers and embracing the warmth and coziness of being back inside. That’s why aprés ski is so big at local resorts—it’s the payoff after a day on the slopes. Your nose is red, your hair is frozen, and you should be proud. You faced the elements and you survived—now it’s time to celebrate!


 


Looking for more fun outdoor experiences? Check out these pages: