Blistering icy winds, miserable sleet, and knee deep powder. For some, winter is the end of the year in terms of fun and enjoyment (or life, for the super dramatic). And for others, they chase it around the world like other people chase summers.
So what is the difference between people that love winter and those that hate it? Sure, we all have some preference for a season which we love, but what stops us enjoying the ones we aren’t so fond of?
CAN YOU ACTUALLY LOOK FORWARD TO WINTER?
I remember before I started any outdoor activities I used to think winter was the time for staying inside, while summer was the ‘action’ season to do outdoorsy things.
Living in Brisbane with its humid heat and crazy sun, that couldn’t have been further from the truth as I found out. Winter was the perfect time to get out and hike, climb or ride bikes there.
When I then moved to New Zealand, I got a taste of actual winters with snow, ice, short daylight hours and the occasional miserable winter conditions. What made it even harder was my partner and I spent half of that first winter living in a small van!
No shelter from the winds while cooking outside.
And just enough warmth at night to sleep.
But you know what? I actually didn’t mind it at all! Sure, there was some novelty about doing it for the first time. Looking back however, it was a great experience.
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I was also going ice climbing 1-2 times a week as I was taking my mini retirement at the time! Cold all day and then cold again at night. I couldn’t have enveloped myself in winter any more even if I tried!
Once we moved into an actual house, my stroke for winter only intensified.
HOW TO ENJOY WINTER
There’s a reason I was so keen for winter. My outdoor activities.
Winter meant putting a halt to many of the hikes due to avalanche hazards. Rock climbing was harder to get motivated for due to the cold and often wet conditions.
But skiing was in. As was ice climbing.
And this is why my enthusiasm stayed high. And it’s why I look forward to each and every winter to come.
Keeping all your eggs in the same basket really shows its meaning in places and countries which get proper, snowy winters. Diversify your activities and you never run out of things to do!
“But wait, this will all cost a fortune, right”?!
I get it, many activities can be very mean to our wallets. But so are many other things in life. Choosing to have expensive cars or accommodation is a life choice. Eating out a lot rather than cooking at home, that’s another choice.
I prioritised adventure and planned to have everything I needed to have year round adventures by adopting a minimalistic lifestyle and cutting out costs that weren’t needed. If you make the effort, many of these activities are not as expensive as you think compared to the other choices we make in our lives.
It’s about working with what you have and where you live.
All countries around the world have rock climbing areas for example. And you might be surprised that you can get your basic setup for less than $250AUD (200USD)! With a bit of research, many activities can be easily setup and maintained by putting aside a little money each week.
YOUR TIPS FOR ENJOYING WINTER
► Diversify your activities. Look forward to each season with activities you love doing. Winter is great for skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating and ice fishing, just for some examples.
► If it’s hard on the wallet (which it always was, and still is for me), plan your seasonal sports over a few years. Each year aim to get another activity (until you reach 4, or more if you want) and look into ones that best fit into your lifestyle, budget and taste.
► Picking activities that blend together is both efficient for startup and ongoing costs. For example, most rock climbing gear is also used for ice climbing and canyoning. And all the same clothing layers are needed in many outdoor sports so you aren’t having to fork out extra once you have it.
► Having the right clothing layers and gear to keep you warm is crucial to getting full enjoyment out of every activity. Ice climbing, for example, is absolutely horrible without a good puffy down jacket to keep you warm in between climbs. Like the saying goes: there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.
By planning ahead and being ready for winter with activities you love, you can make full use of your time and have adventures every weekend. No excuses anymore, winter CAN be enjoyed!
The post, How to Enjoy Winter in the Outdoors (And Actually Look Forward to It), first appeared on The Vertical Adventurer.