Children's Hospital Colorado

Everyone Skis Except Me. What Should I Do?

A family sits in the snow on a mountain with trees. A girl in a pink ski coat and hat sits on mom's lap, who is wearing a red pea coat, pink golashes and light blue hat. A boy wearing jeans, a gray knit hat and light blue scarf sits on dad's lap, who is wearing a light beige jacket, gloves and hat with matching green patterned scarf.

It’s morning in the mountains and your friends are talking about the “epic snow” and “gnarly powder” they are about to experience. You don’t understand what “gnarly powder” means; you’ve never even been on skis or a snowboard. (Or maybe you’re injured or don’t want to buy a lift ticket). So now you’re stuck in the mountains while your friends hit the slopes. You could sit in front of the TV all day, or you could come back with stories of your own by trying a different winter outdoor activity

Katherine O’Connor, MPH, Healthy Hospital Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Colorado, offers some ideas of how to make the most of your time in the mountains – without skiing or snowboarding.

Go snowshoeing

If skiing or boarding scares you, snowshoeing is an excellent alternative. It’s just like hiking, and you can burn many calories. If you’re envious of your friends “playing” in the snow on the slopes, you can find that immersive experience with snow shoes, if you choose.

Whether it’s forging through fields of snow in a park, traipsing in the snowbanks on the side of a trail or even just venturing out the back door of where you’re staying – just be careful to avoid steep slopes, as they could present an avalanche danger, and be careful not to wander so far as to get lost. You can rent snowshoes from local sporting goods stores if you don’t want to buy them. If you are going in the woods or a place with few people, be sure to take someone with you.

Try ice skating

Many ski towns have ice rinks too. Rent some skates and take some spins.

Hit the sledding hill

Find your own sled and hill or check the ski resort’s website – many resorts have sledding and/or tubing parks.

Make a healthy meal for your family and friends

Try cooking something new and/or exotic that keeps you busy and engaged most of the day. Walk to the local grocery store to buy ingredients. Your friends will (should) appreciate your food after a long day in the cold.

Get behind the camera

Walk to town and/or the mountain and bring your camera to take pictures or videos. Look for interesting angles and exciting action shots. Tap into your creative mind and turn your footage into an art project.

Take your own historical walking tour

Many mountain towns have a rich history. Learn about the town online or at the library, locate points of interest, create your own walking map, and then visit them.

Go snowmobiling

Although this doesn’t entail exercise, it is a way to get out of the house. Many ski resorts offer daylong excursions to interesting locales. Check their websites for details.

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