Had enough of being trapped indoors this winter? Get outside with our DIY Winter Adventure series.
As tempting as it is to spend the winter months holed up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, there are a ton of reasons to get outside even when the thermometer drops. Classic winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are great, but a sport doesn’t have to be made for the snow to be great in the winter. From kayaking to parkour to golf, with the right gear and a few adjustments, these seven outdoor sports will get you outside and having the time of your life.
Okay, so kayaking on a frozen river isn’t exactly possible, but you can still paddle downstream or on a lake filled with near-freezing water. But because kayaking involves getting wet most of the time, you need to be especially careful about how you dress and prepare to prevent hypothermia. PaddlingLight recommends a drysuit and lots of insulation, plus a life jacket and a neoprene hood. As winter kayaking is dangerous no matter what you’re wearing, it’s not for beginners. If you’re a newbie, wait for the warmer months.
You’d think that trying the jumps, flips and rolls that are the bread and butter of parkour in the snow would be a recipe for disaster, but not so. Snow makes things a good deal more slippery, so sliding gets easier, although landing the moves gets trickier. And a few inches can turn a fall on asphalt into a comfy comedown. In this video, Anthow & Akmao of Parkour Miramas in France prove that parkour is just as much of a winter sport as a summer one.
Snorkeling doesn’t have to be the domain of Caribbean cruise vacations. Arctic Adventures in Iceland offers snorkeling tours year-round at the spectacular Silfra lava fissure in Þingvellir National Park, where the American and European continental plates meet and visibility reaches 100 meters. To keep you warm, they provide specially made dry suits.
Like for kayaking and snorkeling, winter surfing requires the right gear — namely, a wetsuit or drysuit. Surfer Michelle Sommers, who surfs all winter even when the temperature drops, recommends wearing gloves, boots and a hood. The best part is that in some spots, the winter months bring better swells than in the summer. So not only will you not have to share the water with a crowd, you’ll be getting the best surfing of the year.
As with parkour, snow and ice can make BMX riding harder and easier at the same time. Pedaling through deep powder isn’t going to happen, but if you’ve got a mind to, with a little work you can build your own jump, complete with a cushy landing zone.
For those really serious about riding in the snow, there’s always the Ski Bike, with short skis in the place of the wheels. They’re available for sale, but why not build your own, with directions from Instructables?
As there’s not a lot of running in golf, you’ll have to be extra on top of your layering game if you don’t want to freeze. Snowy links present more than their fair share of challenges, but none of them are insurmountable. The PGA recommends using a colored ball that will be easy to see and making the round more about enjoying yourself than perfecting your game: “Check your ego at the first tee, realize shooting your summer score probably isn’t in the cards, and the goal for this day will be to have fun.”
As with most things winter-related, Chicago leads the pack. There, hardcore golfers aren’t deterred by blizzards- they strap on snowshoes, put their bags on sleds and try not to spend too much time looking for neon balls in snowdrifts.
If you like the idea of building ramps from snow for some winter BMX, you’ll love how wakeboarder Andy Hurdman uses icebergs as natural ramps as he rides around Glacier Island in Alaska. Goes to show that no matter the temperature, if you’ve got the drive to get outside, there’s not much you can’t do.