With winter well on its way, it is time to take a look at some outdoor winter activities to help your family stay active, happy and healthy through the cold months. Instead of hunkering down for the winter with warm drinks, puzzles and Netflix, try embracing this winter by spending more time outdoors!
- Go for family winter walks: Bundle up the family, get out the flashlights and head outside for a wintertime walk. Whether it is an afternoon stroll on a weekend or an evening after-dinner walk, getting the whole family outside and enjoying the scenery that winter in Alaska brings us is an easy way to stay active this winter. Go and check out the neighborhood holiday decorations, take the dog for a walk instead of just letting it in the yard and enjoy some fresh air. Keep an eye on the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) forecast and go for an evening walk out to a darker area to get a great view of the best night time light show it the sky. Always stay safe by watching for moose and by bringing lights or reflectors so that vehicles can see you.
- Find a winter activity: There are so many winter sports that anyone in the family can try. Sit down with your kids this fall and ask them what winter sport they want to work on throughout the winter, maybe even have them set goals for specific activity-related accomplishments. Some of the options include but are not limited to: snowboarding, skiing, dog sleds, snow shoeing, ice skating, driving a snow-mobile, ice fishing and sledding! Don’t want to commit to the price of the gear if your kid is only trying the activity for the first time? Check with local sport equipment stores such as Skinny Raven and REI for gear and supply rentals. Additionally, the University of Alaska Anchorage has an outdoor gear rental shop with winter gear and information available to students and faculty. Take advantage of sunny warmer days and get outside with your winter activity of choice. Always pay attention to weather and snow conditions for your destination before going out on a snowy Alaskan adventure. Snow conditions are fickle and can be dangerous even if they do not appear to be, so educate yourselves and your family of current conditions prior to every outing.
- Choose a winter challenge: Have you ever wanted to go camping in the winter, hike a snowy peak, or go on a group cross-country ski trip to a remote cabin? Challenge yourself to one of your wish list Alaskan adventure items this year. Get outside as much as you can instead of basically hibernating in front of the TV for the next few months. Find something you want to do but have always been too lazy, afraid or busy to do and make it happen this winter. End the year right by reaching goals you’ve had on your mind for a while. Challenge yourself to that ski trip or that big slope you’ve been eyeing, go for a hike with some snow shoes and enjoy yourself. Alaska can be cold and dreary throughout the winter, or you can go out and embrace its beauty and all that is has to offer all year long.
- Attend the winter festivities: Bored of doing the same winter activity every week? Check out the winter festivities going on around Alaska every year such as the annual Fur Rondy Festival and the Slush Cup. Keep up online with all the big events happening in Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla.