By Christine Mouser
When the winter weather rolls around, it’s easy to stay under the covers, throw in a movie and wish away the long, cold days. But the winter months can also bring some extra fun you can’t find during the warmer seasons of the year. Check out these fun activities that will keep you enjoying those long winter days outside in the fresh air.
If you’re looking to hit the slopes, but you don’t want to travel far away and spend tons of bucks, then Boyce Park is your go-to winter fun spot. While it’s not the largest park for your favorite activities, it’s got all the basics and is located nearby in the Monroeville area. Whatever kind of winter sport you’re into, they’ve got you covered—from snowboarding to skiing. If you’re a beginner and looking to try something new, Boyce Park is the best place to go. You won’t have to spend much, and the trails are perfect to practice on. While more advanced skiers won’t get the crazy slopes, it’s still a nice and relaxed place to hang out with friends for the day. And snowboarders can join in on the fun too, as Boyce Park has a great half pipe for boarders to show off or try out some new tricks.
Travel time: 80 minutes
Last season, Seven Springs has been nationally recognized as the east coast’s number one terrain park and number four halfpipe in North America by TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine. Seven Springs offers halfpipes, a superpipe and six terrain parks that feature various levels of difficulty, displaying more than 50 different features.
Activity: Snow Tubing
Travel time: 74 minutes
Specs: 28 trails/slopes; features a halfpipe as well as varying difficulty levels ranging from novice (beginner) to double diamond.
Similar to sledding, snow tubing involves riders sitting on circular tubes as they whiz down steep slopes. It’s become an extremely popular recreation activity, and it’s pretty easy to find snow tubing nearby. One such place, Wildwood Highlands, is less than half an hour away from the city. The park offers multiple chutes to zoom down on, at very reasonable prices. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort also has an 800-foot snow tubing park, while Seven Springs’ snow tubing park boasts 12 chutes. Hidden Valley Resort also has its own Outback Snow Tubing Park.
Activity: Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
Specs: Most of the park’s trails are open to cross-country skiing; head over to the 2.2-mile cross-country skiing trail, designated in the Pavilion area.
If you’re looking for a new and exciting workout during the winter months that doesn’t involve being holed up on the treadmill, then cross-country skiing and snowshoeing may be the perfect remedy. Cross-country skiing is a winter sport involving skiers propelling themselves through snow and terrain, using skis and poles. It can be a grueling sport, depending on the intensity level, but it’s a totally unique experience. Snowshoeing is also a winter sport that requires participants to wear a uniquely designed shoe that allows users to walk on the snow, without breaking it. This also can be a rigorous sport, or a casual exercise.
Travel Time: 80 minutes
Specs: Seven slopes at Mystic Mountain ranging from beginner to expert; features a 300-foot vertical drop, three lifts and a fully illuminated park.
Specs: Five miles of hiking trails available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She is set to graduate from Penn State University this summer, with a degree in print journalism. She has written for HappyValley.com, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State’s Valley magazine.