Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter as it could be

When you were a child what made winter something to look forward to rather than dread? It was the snow: transforming what was known and ordinary into a new world filled with mystery, intrigue, and adventure. Fast forward to the present: are you stressing about tomorrow's commute in the snow, desperately making backup plans for a school delay, or counting the days until this uncomfortable inconvenience will end? For a lot us the wonder of winter has become a burden and our whole mentality takes a negative slide. We don't enjoy the season like we used to: our exposure to the sun lessens, we might exercise less, and activities we love are no longer available.

Why not learn a new winter skill? Skiing or snowboarding can change your whole outlook on the coming of winter. Now I know what you're thinking: it's expensive for the family, it's cold, and I don't know how. Well here are some tips to get you started:
  1. Join a ski club. Aetna has a ski club available for anyone. A thirty dollar membership can save you close to 50% on a lift ticket. It also provides discounts at local ski shops (Alpine Haus).
  2. Rent equipment. Ski equipment doesn't need to be expensive. Rent at a local ski shop and get huge savings compared to mountain rental prices.
  3. Take lessons. Learning can be difficult, but think of the memories your family will be making together as you experience your first snow plow or carve. They cost money, but you can get discounts through ski clubs and it's the fastest and easiest way to learn.
  4. Plan an outing. Take time to prepare and plan your experience. Some mountains might be close, but have bad conditions, others might be known as family mountains (Okemo). Avoid busy weekends and holidays; you don't want to learn in the middle of thousands of people. Early and late in the season offers discounted lift tickets and more comfortable weather.
  5. HAVE FUN! Learning any new skill can be challenging, but whether you're with your family, friends, or yourself think about the benefits. Enjoy the outdoors, get a sense of accomplishment as you get off your first lift, experience a whole body workout, and enjoy the picturesque scene you remembered as a child!
The benefits of skiing do not end on the slope. If you do enjoy skiing you might find yourself more motivated to work out in the winter. Now when you come into the YMCA it won't be forced, but an extra incentive to improve your skiing. If down hill skiing isn't for you try other sports like: cross country skiing, snowshoeing, indoor rock climbing, indoor triathlons, and park and rec leagues. Most importantly, find something you can enjoy and look forward to doing in the winter!

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