5 ways to maximize the cold weather this winter
By Blaise Kemna, Contributor
You know the click-click-click to the top of a rollercoaster? The way you begin to brace yourself? The way you white-knuckle the safety restraint as you crest the top before plummeting to the ground?
Is the experience enjoyable or terrible? Is the anticipation worse than the actual drop?
I’ve been pondering these sorts of questions as we approach our yearly plunge into a good old Alberta winter. Only a few days ago, a friend and I bemoaned the darkness, isolation and clichéd seasonal depression that can quickly become all too real during the cold months.
Go to school in the dark. Go home in the dark. Repeat.
Click-click-click. Are you feeling the dreadful anticipation yet?
If you are, I’ve got a few ideas to brighten your winter. With our final few weeks before snow, it’s time to make a point of authentic connection with friends and nature this winter. Press into it. You might just have a better time than you think.
Here’s a list of five things you can do this winter:
1. Shinny on the ODR
Shinny on the ODR means hockey on the outdoor rink — if you didn’t know what that meant, you’re forgiven. I’ve grown up playing hockey and my mom still doesn’t know what that means, so you’re doing fine. Whatever you want to call it — and whether you’ve played for years or never skated — this has to be number one on the list. There’s nothing quite like the sound of skates carving the ice, pucks banging against the boards or the hooting and hollering when someone scores. Plus, is there anything more quintessentially Canadian… eh?
2. Settlers of Catan
Go ahead and call me a grandpa or a nerd, I don’t care. This popular strategy game is worth whatever labels might be associated with it. It’s perfect for a stay-at-home game night with friends. Last winter, some of my buddies and I held epic Settlers tournaments and it was actually a blast. If you’ve got a fireplace or kettle, now’s the time to fire them up. Just one word of warning though, you may want to be selective about who you play with, this game can get intense. Don’t come crying to me if an alliance gone wrong puts a rift between you and your bestie, or you develop a mortal enemy along the way. Otherwise, have fun!
If you’re prepared to layer up and brave the cold, this is an awesome option on a budget. As opposed to skiing or snowboarding, where you pay an arm and a leg (and then likely break your remaining arm and leg on the hill itself), once you’ve bought, or rented your snowshoes, you’re ready to go — no extra cost. Snowshoeing is also a perfect way to take advantage of the Rocky Mountains in our backyard. There are plenty of trails in Kananaskis and Banff for you to make good use of. Just don’t forget your long johns and mittens!
4. Movie marathon
This one is cliché, I know, but it’s also kind of obligatory isn’t it? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a toddler begging your parents to watch just a few more minutes before bed or a university student bingeing a new show when you should be studying, deep down everyone’s just looking for an excuse to watch more TV without getting in trouble for it. How’s a minus 30 degree snow day for justification? Make some popcorn, grab approximately 200 blankets and you’ll be well on your way to a successful movie night. As always, friends or a significant other are a great addition.
I get it, this one’s pretty lame. Definitely the last thing you wanted to read in this list. But that’s just it, this one is a last resort. If worse comes to worse and you can’t do anything else, you can always cloister yourself away for the day and do something productive. Winter might be a good time to experiment with the art of learning itself. Switch up your routine, try to make it enjoyable or go to a coffee shop. Go with whatever motivates you and you might just learn something — imagine that.