Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
In areas where snowfall is a routine feature of winter, many national and state parks turn their hiking trails over into trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or both. After an initial investment in the requisite gear, and perhaps an annual park pass that can be used winter or summer, venturing into the wilderness is as free of charge during the winter as it is in the summer. Stripped of its foliage and with many animals in hibernation or absent due to migration, your local parks will have an entirely new character to explore and enjoy.
Caving is a four-season outdoor sport, because the temperature in most caves is in the mid-50 degrees F all year around. The only real difference is that the water level for underground rivers may be higher, especially in areas that receive winter rains rather than winter snowfall. Access to many of the caves are located on private property and at the discretion of the owner, but that access is often granted for free. If you are not already a caver, the best way to get into this activity is to contact a local caving group and join one of their beginner-friendly expeditions.
A twist on traditional snowball-throwing is the snowball target shoot. This is done by painting a brightly-colored round target in the snow akin to an archery target, using a mix of food coloring and cold water in a spray bottle. This creates a color-coded target that can be rated for points. Set a predetermined number of snowballs per person, toss the snowballs into the target, and the person with the most points wins.
Snow Maze Tag
Another free outdoor activity that can be played in the snow is snow maze tag. Everyone involved should plow a circular channel in the show with their legs, and then plow lines across the circle like the spokes of a wheel. For large groups, additional rings can be plowed, creating something akin to a dartboard configuration in the snow. Choose a person to be "it" and play tag in the usual fashion. The twist on this version is that players can only run in the plowed channels of the snow maze. Anyone who jumps or falls out of the channels is automatically removed from the game.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.