Tips for embracing the outdoors this winter

In winter, the urge to hibernate is strong. Once the temperatures drop, it’s tempting to take one look at the grey sky and decide to swap your hiking jacket for a snug house robe.

But it’s important for our health and happiness to spend time outside all year. This winter, challenge yourself to embrace the unique activities that only come with the cold. To get you motivated, here are our top tips to help you do more this winter.

Try something new

Winter offers a whole host of activities that are simply not possible during the summer, so use this season as an opportunity to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby.

Skiing or snowboarding are two quintessential winter activities, and there are some incredible ski hills across Australia and New Zealand that offer beginners lessons for those who have never hit the slopes before.

Alternatively, snowshoeing is an easy and family-friendly activity that will get you out exploring the mountains, while winter is also the perfect time to try your hand at ice skating. Sure, indoor ice rinks are accessible year round, but there’s nothing better than lacing up your skates and gliding across a frozen pond or a pop-up outdoor ice rink.

Man and woman ice skating
Snow and ice offer plenty of new activities to try out

Learn some survival skills

Ever dreamt of heading off on a mountaineering expedition in some far-flung pocket of the world? Winter is the ideal time to start preparing.

Sign up for a mountaineering course to learn all the necessary survival skills you’ll need to successfully complete your expedition like how to:

  • build a shelter
  • navigate through a blizzard
  • treat hypothermia and other alpine-related illnesses and injuries.

A course like this will also give you the chance to meet like-minded people, and perhaps even introduce you to the squad you’ll tackle the Swiss Alps with.

Start a hiking club

Hiking in winter has a number of perks, including less people on your favourite trails. But let’s face it, getting motivated can be hard work when it’s cold outside. To help keep you accountable, team up with some friends and start your own winter hiking club.

Form a list of some of the most beautiful trails in your region and lock in dates throughout the winter months to cross them all off. You might want to also create a Facebook or Whatsapp group to trade ideas and photos.

Escape the city

If winter starts to dampen your spirits, a weekend getaway could be just what the doctor ordered.

A number of country towns across Australia and New Zealand celebrate the cold by throwing winter festivals, which typically involve things like:

  • bonfires
  • mulled wine
  • live music
  • quirky outdoor events.

You also have the chance to embrace your inner kid by barrelling down a snowy hill on a toboggan or having a good, old-fashioned snowball fight. Sometimes, all you need to get a fresh perspective on winter is to get out of town.

A couple walking up the slopes carrying their skis
Escape the city with your family or friends this winter

Get the kids excited

Kids see the fun in winter where adults sometimes don’t. For some kids, snow is the ultimate playground – it’s a time to:

  • snowboard with the family
  • carve out some snow angels
  • even hurl snowballs at their siblings.

But if they need more convincing, you can turn a winter walk into an adventure. For instance, you could organise a scavenger hunt, where the kids have to find items like pine cones or spot different types of birds or berries.

By turning the walk into a game, the kids are more likely to enjoy being out in the cold. For a little extra motivation, simply pack a thermos of hot chocolate.

Get your kids excited with some new winter activities
Get your kids excited with some new winter activities

Get the right gear

Getting outside in winter is a lot easier when you’re warm, dry and cosy – and it’s essential to both your safety and enjoyment that you have the right gear.

Make sure you research the appropriate cold weather gear for your activity, stock up on the right sorts of layers and grab any speciality equipment for hiking, skiing or camping.

Once you’re prepared, taking on winter is a lot less daunting...and a lot more fun.