Winter weather can make getting outside to see your new hometown difficult. Road conditions are such that you'd rather not drive and people are always rushing to get out of the cold and into some place warm. However, there are some exceptions that get people mingling in the snow - winter sports.
If you're planning to move somewhere that gets a lot of snow, winter sports are one of the best ways to be outside, get some exercise and do some informal sightseeing. Best of all, there is a winter sport to match most anyone's interests and abilities. All you need to figure out is which one suits you best. Here is an overview of some of the more enjoyable outdoor winter activities.
Skiing and snowboarding
These are the two classic downhill sports, and any self-respecting snowy city has at least one good slope in the region. The total cost of lift tickets, rentals and possibly a hotel room means that skiing isn't going to be cheap. However, the drive into the countryside provides a firsthand view of the natural beauty that makes your area unique. Additionally, a weekend getaway is a great way to let go of the stress built up during the moving process. Not only will it make you feel more settled, it's also a good bonding experience with family or new friends.
Skiing is fun, but the price and the physical demand can be too much for some. What's more, the drive often takes you outside of your hometown. Snowshoeing is a great, low-impact alternative. All the gear you need is a pair of snowshoes, and your walking trail is wherever there's snow. Parks, fields and any other public property are fair game and fun snowshoeing.
If you want something a little bit more demanding, cross-country is a challenging sport and an excellent means of exploring the local area. Designed for traveling across long distances in the snow, cross-country feels like a combination of its alpine cousin, ice-skating, and snowshoeing. It's a great activity in areas with a mix of hills and flatland.
Kids can have trouble getting accustomed to a new town. Sledding is a fun way for them to meet neighborhood children and keep busy on snow days. Local hills are prime sledding spaces – just make sure they're not flying down dangerous roads. Also, helmets may not seem cool to kids, but they'll definitely help keep them safe.
Most of these sports are best done in the countryside or suburbs. Ice skating is one of the few exceptions. From New York to Paris, many towns will have at least one major ice rink in the heart of the city. That makes it an excellent winter sport for getting to know a new place. Skating makes the perfect activity for a winter date or a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Most rinks will also offer skate rentals, meaning all you have to do is show up. However, if you really enjoy skating, it may be cost-effective to buy your own pair.
No, it's not really a sport, but shoveling is definitely a workout, and also a fantastic way to meet new neighbors. Maybe you can strike up conversation while clearing up the sidewalks. Better yet, offer to scrape their driveways. It will put you in their good graces, and serves as an introduction for further meetings.
Of course, not everyone likes to spend their snow days outdoors. If you prefer crackling fires to black diamonds, you can always invite neighbors over for a wintry get-together. Hot chocolate and cider make a great cap to a day on the slopes or an afternoon of games and conversation.