By guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.
‘Tis the season for some slaloms, fa la la la la la. If you are into skiing, then now is the time to pull out the seasonal gear and stretch those rarely used muscles. If skiing isn’t your thing, then you aren’t out of luck. The air is becoming crisp, rain is starting to fall, and the powder will soon (hopefully) be dumping on the mountains.
With the correct research and planning, anyone can take a weekend trip to the nearest mountain resort and borrow, rent, or even buy gear. Most colleges, and the surrounding towns, offer ski and snowboard swapping programs. Some of these programs can also outfit buyers with jackets and pants.
For those living in the Northwest, TheSkiSwap.com is an information source for winter sports equipment and gear sales. Most ski mountains also offer deals on random non-holiday weekends for lessons, tickets, and gear. Skiing and snowboarding are the obvious sports of the winter season but they are far from the only ones.
Cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snow shoeing, ice skating, and Telemark skiing (also known as free heel skiing) are gaining in popularity across the United States. Intense athletes are turning to ski mountaineering as a cardio alternative in winter. Ski mountaineering combines the 3 types of skiing – Telemark, alpine, and backcountry – with mountain climbing (thanks, Wikipedia!). Individuals, and usually groups, use ski mountaineering in pursuit of virgin powder or even to achieve a mountain’s summit using skis as a tool, with skiing down secondary.
Cross-country skiing and snow shoeing are other winter sports that don’t require the use of mountains and harsh terrains. Cross-country skiers move themselves across snow-covered terrain with skis and poles and subsequently, it is popular in areas with large snowfields. Most resorts will offer gear rentals and lessons for cross-country skiing. It’s a great alternative to skiing or boarding and allows individuals the chance to catch some wintery views.
Snow shoeing is an option for any age range and can quickly tire out most participants. Snowshoe Magazine says there is no better way to begin snowshoeing than to just go out and do it. Take a risk, rent or buy a pair of snowshoes, dress for the elements, and enjoy. It is easy to learn, virtually inexpensive, and poses little risk of injury as compared to other winter activities. According to research done by Snowsports Industries America (SIA), 40.8% of snowshoers are women, 9.4% of snowshoers are children (ages 7-11), and 44.2% of snowshoers are ages 25-44.
Winter sports allow people the chance to get away from the warm fireplace and enjoy the natural, frozen beauty of nature. The sports mentioned above are far from the only snow sport options available. My family enjoys wookie-bobbing, a winter activity in which we attach an intertube to the back of an ATV. Talk about fun!
And what sounds better after a play day in the snow than a comfy pair of sweatpants and hot chocolate?