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4 Fun Winter Sports To Get You Outside, Even If You’d Rather Not

diagram: An illustration of cross country shoes

© Provided by Chatelaine
An illustration of cross country shoes

(Image: iStock)

It was much easier to convince ourselves to get fresh air when that fresh air wasn’t threatening to become a polar vortex. Winter weather calls for new methods of persuasion, so here are four sporty reasons to head outside when you’d really rather not.

At 5°C: Cycling

Well, you already invested in the damn bike. Plus, it’s never been easier to get around on two wheels: Cities from Vancouver to Montreal to Halifax added bike lanes and closed off streets to cars this year. In Ottawa, you can pedal the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge all winter long.

Degree of difficulty: Layer up, steer clear of slush and you’ll be coasting.

Just below 0°C: Snowshoeing

It’s hiking’s winter cousin! It’s walking on paddles! It’s an ancient activity that dates back 6,000 years! Snowshoeing is also a good cardio workout that’s still gentle on your joints.

Degree of difficulty: Modern snowshoes are a sleek affair–think less wooden tennis racquet, more short, nimble ski. Poles (which, like the shoes, can be rented) help with stability, too.

At -7°C: Sledding

There’s something truly satisfying–especially now–about hurling yourself (or your partner, or your children) down a seriously steep hill on a plastic sled that offers nothing in the way of steering or brakes. It’s a fitting way to start 2021.

Degree of difficulty: You’re at the mercy of physics, and your sled will stop when gravity says so. Enjoy the ride!

At -15°C: Snowkiting

What this sport needs, Canada has–gusty gales, a little open space, and a whole lot of snow. Seize the opportunity by strapping on skis or a snowboard, hitching yourself to a lightweight foil kite and using the wind to surf the frozen terrain.

Degree of difficulty: High! Beginners can (and should) book a pro lesson to figure out gear, technique and how to harness the breeze.


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