Winter seems to last forever in Calgary, so you might as well make the most of it! A sedentary life in winter can undo the months of active living you enjoyed in the summer, so stop hibernating and get out and play!
The outdoor sport season doesn’t end when the snow starts falling. This is, after all, the city that hosted the Winter Olympics. There is no end to the sport activities available to keep you and your kids active and engaged until the Spring thaw begins.
Certainly, there are indoor sport activities: Basketball, volleyball and badminton. But don’t constrain your family to just the activities that can be done under a roof in a heated building. Think about the sport activities that can’t (easily) be done any other time of year! There are a number of benefits to exploring sport activities that are played outdoors in the wintertime. In addition to the fresh air and exercise, sport played outside can be one of the best ways to ensure adequate vitamin D production during the winter season.
From skiing to snowboarding, to figure skating, speed skating or good ol’ fashioned shinney, (granted, some of those can be done indoors, but they don’t have to be!), it almost doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re getting out into the fresh air and keeping active. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, check out luge, bobsleigh, skeleton and ski jumping over at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park. You might just find an addictive new thrill!
If you’d like to explore your winter sport options a bit further off the beaten path, you may want to check out synchronized skating, snow rugby, sledge hockey or ski archery. Consider cross-country skiing: A sport that the whole family can enjoy together, and one which can’t happen any other time of year. Catching the excitement and experiencing the challenge of cross-country skiing may just have you looking forward to winter next year! It’s a great way to appreciate Alberta’s stunning beauty. Snowshoeing is another great winter-only activity that can be immensely rewarding.
Or how about simply sledding down the neighborhood hill? That’s another activity the whole family can enjoy together. While not an organized sport, it gets the blood flowing, and you can’t beat the thrill of hurtling down the hill on your sled, the cool wind in your face. It makes the trek back up the hill worth it! Tack on a playful post-sled snowball fight, and you’ve got the recipe for a fun afternoon beating the cold through active play. And remember, helmets on heads when sledding. If you find the feeling of sledding intoxicating, it might be your gateway to a sport like luge or bobsleigh, in which case you’re spending winter in the right city!
Seven keys to enjoying winter sport:
1. Wear the gear - especially the right-sized gear. Be it a helmet, gloves and pads, wear the right gear to stay safe.
2. Stay warm. According to Safe Kids, www.safekids.org, “The best clothing for cold weather is a double layered hat that covers your ears. A scarf or knit mask that covers your face and mouth. Long sleeves that are snug at the wrist. Double-layered mittens (they are warmer than gloves). Wear a water-resistant coat and shoes, and wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing.” And if your feet are cold, put on a hat!
3. Watch out for frost bite. If you are outside for a prolonged period of time, perform regular checks for frostbite.
4. Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn from sunshine reflecting off of snow.
5. Watch for signs. If a sign says “thin ice,” believe it! Ice on City ponds will have a sign indicating whether skating is allowed, and if it is, whether it is safe to do so. Helmets are strongly encouraged. Remember to only skate on ice surfaces that have been made for recreational use. Community stormwater ponds are not safe to skate on.
6. If you don’t know how to do something, start slow, or take a lesson.
7. Have fun!
This year, don’t just endure winter, enjoy it! Find a seasonal sport activity that can become an annual tradition that reliably sends the winter blues packing.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2021 Calgary’s Child