The days are quickly getting crisp with light snow starting to fall, and many of us are looking forward to winter. What better way to enjoy winter and improve your physical and mental health, than getting outdoors?
The pandemic is still here, but we’ve got endless reasons to NOT spend your entire winter season indoors. With increased safety measures at resorts and recreational areas, and a few tips for social distancing, you can safely enjoy outdoor winter activities whether you take a road trip to the nearest ski resort, or go snowshoeing or sledding through a nearby park.
Is It Now Safe To Enjoy Winter?
We hear you – with the coronavirus still very much present, it’s easy to feel uneasy. If you’re hitting the ski resorts, there’s a certain amount of risk when you’re lining up for the lifts, or hanging out on crowded places like lounges, bars, and ticket booths. Major ski resorts have announced new rules for the 2020-2021 ski season to reduce this risk without compromising the fun.
Ready to hit the snow? Here are our favorite winter activities that will make you want to get outside.
Outdoor Winter Activities that Will Make You Want to Get Outside
Cross Country Skiing
A fantastic cardio workout? Check. Naturally encourages social distancing? Check.
Cross country skiing lets you enjoy the snow, savor the scenery of the mountains, and benefit by burning a LOT of calories. Strapping on skis to go cross-country skiing is a great way to fall in love with the wintertime outdoors.
Shops We Love
Pagosa Mountain Sports
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
The San Juan Mountains that surround Pagosa Springs, CO have so many wonderful places to cross country ski and snowshoe. From groomed trails with amazing mountain views to quiet ponderosa pine forests in the backcountry, Pagosa Springs is an incredible place to get away from it all. Complete gear selections + experienced staff who are excited to get you on the snow, Pagosa Mountain Sports is your partner to getting geared up for cross country skiing.
There’s no denying the adrenaline rush that comes from downhill skiing. The altitude, the scenery, the challenge… and of course the apres! Skiing is one of the most popular winter activities for good reason – ski resorts offer diverse terrain for everyone from complete beginners to expert shredders.
Shops We Love
Carver’s Ski Shop
Located in the heart of Breckenridge, Carver’s Ski Shop is not only easy to find – it’s also home to premium, budget-friendly ski and snowboard rentals. Just beyond the shop’s doors are Breckenridge’s majestic peaks that scream go big or go home. With over 3,000 acres of infamous terrain + a laid back apres ski scene, Breck’s ready for all.
Aloha Ski Shop
Park City, Utah
With convenient locations across Park City, Aloha Ski & Snowboard offers premium ski rentals, plus overnight storage, and door to door delivery and pick up services. Discover Park City’s famous dry powder snow and three renowned ski resorts. Park City combines both adventure and entertainment – a place that defines what a good time is.
Take your winter adventure to another level on a snowboard. All major ski resorts offer snowboard rentals and lessons – it’s never too late to get into it! Whether you are heading to a nearby ski resort, the backcountry, or a neighborhood hill or mountain, snowboarding turns up the wintertime fun.
Shops We Love
Black Tie Ski Delivery
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Known as one of the leading ski resorts in the west, Mammoth Mountain does not run short of trails to impress skiers and snowboarders. Surrounded by the towering, snow capped Sierra Nevada range and many miles of vast wilderness, Mammoth is California’s highest four season resort and playground. Black Tie Ski Delivery provides the best way to get rental skis and snowboards in major ski resorts like Mammoth Lakes. With five star reviews, top of the line gear and delivery service right to your accommodation, Black Tie Ski is a no brainer for your skiing and snowboarding gear needs. Added bonus: book on TripOutside and get 10% off your Black Tie Ski Delivery rental!
Safe, easy, and inexpensive, sledding is a perfect winter outdoor activity for families. Kids and adults alike will love sliding down slopes and hills in the fresh powder. Sledding is also an easy-to-organize activity for those impromptu outdoor trips. Plus, it makes that cup of hot chocolate taste even better afterwards!
Tip for 2020: To lower risks, only join activities with people you share the same house with.
It’s like rock climbing – but on ice. Yes, you got that right – winter won’t be able to stop you from giving in to your love for scaling ridges and peaks. What makes ice climbing unique is that you’re not only climbing rocks – you’re also maneuvering around frozen glaciers, solid waterfalls, AND rock-hard snow. Getting your cardio on while you take in the majestic winter views…how cool is that?
Shops We Love
Red River Adventures
Moab / Salt Lake City, Utah
Northern Utah’s Wasatch mountains are already a glory during the summer. But come winter, the ridges and cliffs offer another type of adventure – ice climbing. No boring ice climbing session here – with difficulty ranging from easy to difficult, everyone will find ice climbing adventures that will thrill and challenge. Red River Adventures provides the gear and the know-how for ice climbing lessons and tours to help you take on this extreme winter sport safely.
Burn more calories with winter hiking – cold temps have been found to burn 34% more calories! Albeit more challenging than hiking during the warmer days, hiking in the winter also helps prevent stiff joints and boredom from winning us over. Winter hiking is fairly simple – just look around your neighborhood parks and you’re sure to find a place where you can hike. Many popular trails are packed down soon after a snowfall, so there’s no excuse to not get out! Hiking naturally promotes social distancing, especially in the winter when there are far fewer people adventuring out.
Shops We Love
Bike and Hikes LA
Los Angeles, CA
Get moving as you explore the city! Bikes and Hikes LA offers a variety of private and group Los Angeles hiking tours like hiking to the Hollywood sign or Griffith Park.
Trail Lovers Excursions
Take a hiking tour through some of the most remote and seldom visited wilderness areas in Arizona with Trail Lovers Excursions. Enjoy the tranquility of the hidden desert landscapes of the red rock country surrounding Sedona, AZ.
Want to take hiking up a notch in winter? Don’t let the snow stop you. Snowshoes allow you to access otherwise inaccessible areas with deeper snow, and offers incredible rewards with stunning wintertime views. Snowshoeing can take you to backcountry spots and secret trails you might not discover while on skis or boards. Walk the snow at your own pace, and stop whenever you want to savor the views – just some of the perks of snowshoeing. Many outdoor gear stores offer rentals and advice, and don’t forget to check the forecast before hitting the trail!
Shops We Love
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico gets its fair share of winter snow – even low-lying plateaus can easily get covered in winter. On a mountain peak, you’ll find Albuquerque’s snowy desert enchanting. MST Adventures offers snowshoe rentals and guided snowshoe tours for an unforgettable trip to experience Albuquerque’s must-see winter spots.
Colorado transforms into a winter wonderland when the snow starts. From skiing to snowboarding to hot springs – Colorado has it all. But Colorado also has another wintertime activity you need to try – snowshoeing. Trails carved through thick forests and high peaks with beautiful overlooks of the grandeur of the Rockies, Colorado snowshoeing does not disappoint. Rent your snowshoes and a variety of other winter gear conveniently in Denver from Outdoors Geek, and be on your way to the trails before you know it!
We give big props to fat bikes that made it possible to still take on biking adventures during the winter. Made with sturdier, wider wheels and tires, fat bikes allow you to easily roll over snow, roots, rocks and sand. More fun, more calories – just a few things that will make you say yes to winter fat biking.
Shops We Love
Hoff’s Bikesmith is located in the heart of Jackson, WY, a biker’s paradise just minutes from the famous Grand Tetons. Their fat bikes are made for the snow of Jackson. Wyoming’s prime winter destination features more than 100 miles of groomed trails for fat bikers. Fat biking in Wyoming gives you a big bonus – the Instagram-worthy sights of the grand Tetons.
Door County E-bike
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
When Door County’s lakes freeze over in winter, they’re the perfect place for fat biking. But the options don’t stop there – you can also choose to explore the ice castles, caves and shoves at three local parks. Door County E-bikes will rent you an electric fat bike or take you on a fat biking tour to explore the best magical ice formations in the area.
So, are you ready for winter? The outdoors is waiting to give you your next big winter adventure. Embrace the outdoors as the snow starts to fall, and enjoy the many perks of saying yes to outdoor winter adventures. For more outdoor winter activities ideas, check our ultimate list of outdoor activities!
No matter which activities you pick this winter, make sure you follow Leave No Trace principles, and recreate responsibly outdoors to ensure our wilderness areas stay pristine for generations to come.