If there is a silver lining to global warming it is that those of us enduring another January here in Winnipeg can at last make the most of winter.
It is now possible to spend an extended period of time outdoors without feeling as though your lungs are collapsing or that you will be forever scarred from frostbite.
This new-found freedom, coupled with the fitness resolution that you have undoubtedly made following the usual holiday binges, should be incentive enough to stop watching House re-runs for an evening and participate in some form of winter “sport.”
Here are a few novel and charming ideas;
Skate the Red
The skating “trail” that begins at the Forks and zags along the river has never been so appealing now that the weather is so unseasonably warm. People of all ages – canoodling first daters, quietly bickering married couples, families with surprisingly skilled children and cigar smoking undergrads – come out to skate and enjoy the city views at night. Not to mention, it’s quite a workout.
YMCA employee Ashley-Anne Klowak endorses skating as “part of an active lifestyle and a great way to integrate a workout into your routine in the winter.”
Bust out the crazy carpet
For a less arduous activity, grab your friends and go tobogganing. This activity is guaranteed to bring back fond memories of yesteryear, only this time you can bring a thermos of Baileys and hot chocolate. It is so easy, anyone can do it and if you give yourself a running start, that counts as cardio.
Tobogganing attire must consist of a warm jacket and snow pants, or the penultimate fashion statement – “The Onesie, “ also known as the one-piece snowsuit. If you can dig one of these up in your basement closet, not only will you feel like a character in a Robert Munsch story, you will be impenetrable to the cold.
“My favourite place to go tobogganing is the north side of the Osborne street bridge. It’s the best because it goes off a river bank and you can build snow drifts off on the side and make fun ramps,” said 23-year-old tobogganing enthusiast Connor Gilhuly.
Shred some pow on a snowboard
If you suck at snowboarding, try Springhill. If you rule at snowboarding, go anyway because this is the prairies and there is nowhere else to go.
For first timers, expect to spend much of the day eating snow. Opening day at Springhill back in December saw the majority of the snow being artificially enhanced, but this again just meant a toastier climate and a better experience.
If you need to rent a board and fancy a lesson, you can get both for around $65.
Published in Volume 64, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 21, 2010)