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What Do You Do In Winter ?

Joined
Nov 7, 2023
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Location
Elliott Lake, Ontario
For those here who get winter like all of my fellow Canadians and many in the US.
Your canoe is likely stored for winter, or will be soon.
What are your Outdoor activities through the winter?

For me, here in Northern Ontario it's mostly ice fishing. Two or three days a week with friends we hit different lake on snowmobile using many portage routes to go to remote lakes for fishing. Getting a fire going and standing on the lake fishing and sharing old stories is the preferred method, it can be very cold, but very social.

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I do some woodworking and there's a never ending list of work to be done on the house. Some winters I'm good at getting work done in the wood shop and other winters, like last winter, I don't do anything.

Last winter I took up Jiu Jitsu and enjoyed it very much. I started going back to class again last week and hopefully enthusiasm will last through the winter again.

And the never ending walks with the dog. I really like walking but I do get tired of walking in the dark and cold all the time.

Alan
 
Winter here in lake effect snow country, off the eastern end of Lake Ontario, means dealing with heavy snow on a frequent basis. I XC ski a couple of miles into my dad's hunting camp to shovel off the roof to keep it from collapsing. I judge the winters by the number of times I have to do this. Some seasons only once, in a heavy season at least three times.

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I mostly hike with my dog Jake. We also go to winter camp about 4 times a week.


Jake and I are a nationally certified therapy team so we often go to assisted living facilities and visit with the residents.

Also, load wood 1 or 2 times a week to keep the house warm.

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I never did much outdoors in the winter when living in northern climes. Never was a skier, just a sitter-in-the-ski-lodge while paying through the nose for my kids' lessons and rental equipment. Until my daughter almost died in the sport. Never a fisherman or hunter, winter or otherwise.

In some of my adult life I was fortunate to live in warm, habitable climates: Malibu, California; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida (twice); Jacksonville Beach, Florida. So, the outdoor activities in these divine, non-Ice-Age places were about the same all year round.

When I lived in the north in New York and Connecticut I spent a lot of my free time, which wasn't much, at indoor gyms and running tracks in the winter. In some years when working or after early retirement, I would manage to get to the Carolinas, Georgia and especially Florida for a couple of weeks on my own to canoe, while living out of my Magic Bus full-size van.

To have glorious outdoor winter adventures of skiing and trekking and camping and dog sledding and snowmobiling presumes one has lots of uninhabited land or is near to it. That's not the case for folks who live in cities or suburbs. Most such folks just plow driveways, shovel sidewalks, and then drive around on densely-habited and dirty snow-plowed streets. No picturesque winter wonderlands.

In my 60's in the winter, I used to travel a lot around the NY, NJ and southern New England areas covering girl's/women's basketball games and player interviews from the high school level, to the NCAA tournament, to the U.S. Olympic team, and be paid as a writer, photographer and videographer by various internet publications devoted to women's basketball. My business was called Magic Bus Sports and HERE is my now moribund MagicBusBasketball YouTube channel. That was the source of my magic bus avatar.

(There is also one video on my MagicBusCanoeing YouTube channel. I have dozens of canoe trips from all over the East coast on video, taken from a video camera mounted on a tripod in front of me, that I've never edited or published onto the channel.)

The past few years, my only winter activity in old age on fixed income is to stay bundled up in a partially heated house, which is now too expensive to oil heat, and to spend most hours reading, writing or administrating things on the internet. I still watch and post about women's basketball, and the NCAA season has just started. However, that's all just computer stuff too.
 
Quite a lot of cross-country skiing. Planning "hopefully, maybe, someday" canoe trips even when they are unlikely to happen but, just in case they might happen and, besides that, they are fun to plan. I also try to plan canoe trips that are more likely to happen - read: closer, shorter, easier, not requiring much in the way of paddling skills.
Some walking. If the year is good, skating on local lakes.
In some of my adult life I was fortunate to live in warm, habitable climates: Malibu, California; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida (twice); Jacksonville Beach, Florida. So, the outdoor activities in these divine, non-Ice-Age places were about the same all year round
I guess some of us live in non-habitable places but these less than divine Ice-Age places aren't so bad most of the time.
I like the change in activities but I do miss paddling.
 
Again as an administrative tangent I have frequently interjected, because members' geography is so contextually relevant in so many discussions, it would really be helpful and more informative if everyone would take 30 seconds to put your location in your Account Details page in your Account, which you access by clicking your name in the upper right of any page. Putting your location in your Account Details will cause it to be displayed under your avatar. And that location display is clickable: it opens up into Google Maps.
 
I take my dog (40 pound Vizsla) for a run at the 40 acre off leash dog park most days. I snowshoed with her from November until April last year due to the record snowfall. This year, now that my rotator cuff is healed, I also plan on doing a lot of XC skiing, and some Alpine skiing at the local resorts. This may be my last year to buy a pass, since my ski buddies have given it up and my grandkids are too fast and reckless to ski with any more! I also spend more time in the winter reading books that I never had time to read prior to retirement a few years ago at 72.
 
Depending on the snow conditions, I think I’ll snowshoe in the ADK’s or my backyard.
Same for XC skiing, at home we’re surrounding by the Albany Pine Bush.
If there’s good natural snow, my absolute favorite activity is BC skiing, skin up, ski down, no tracks, no trails, preferably.
If the snow is not so good, lift served alpine to keep my skills sharp. I only like to ski trees, powder, bumps in that order.
Ice skating occasionally, I used to speed skate but now skate on hockey skates.
From year to year I have various projects in winter, couple years back was a batch of ten paddles.
If my shoulder heals quickly enough I’ll replace the frame in my 1977 CJ5.
Other than above, I just hang around the house

Edit to add:
My favorite BC ski spot is the site of a former lift served area (or areas, 3 incarnations) in eastern NY/western MA.
Currently owned by NYS, open to all that wish to visit.
From the parking area the top is 500 ft up, the usual bottom is 300 ft below the parking lot. In past years, my ski buddies and I would skin up the 500 vert and drop off the backside, 1,800 ft down some very serious terrain. One of our gang would ski back down to the parking lot and drive the 5 or 6 miles around and down to pick up the others. We would take turns doing the shuttle.
Depending on the year, I skied untracked waist deep powder and miserable breakable crust, and everything in between.
There are still remnants of the 40 year old lift served trails, and some of us keep the deadfall cleared in the fall.
But by far, the best skiing is in the mature hardwood forested pitches…powder there is often untracked and enjoyable weeks after the latest powder storms.
Oh wait, did I forget to mention the name?
Best not to…
 
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I usually have a canoe or woodworking project in the wood shop, a classic car or truck that is in some stage of restoration, fishing flies to be tied, books to read, shuttling kids to sports, and planning canoe trips I hope to make the following year. I fish and hunt regularly till January.

If ice fishing conditions and catching in Southern New England were similar to Northern Ontario, I’m sure I’d have to add that to the list! Nice lake trout El Tripper.

Bob
 
On Long Island there is usually free water year round. I do most of my paddling and canoe sailing in the "off season" when my ketch is laid up. The dinghy is still floating to give me my water fix. When that comes ashore I'll break out the canoes and kayaks. I found out last winter that I can still work a couple of hours a day on the ketch if the temperature is in the forties. When it's really cold I read and plan for boating.
 
I hail from the Cooperstown, NY area and when the snow is good, I take advantage of the numerous state forests for some xc skiing and/or snowshoeing. I'll also amble down to the Catskills for snowshoeing and some decent views. If the snow doesn't cooperate near home, Boonville, NY and all its snow is about 90 minutes away so I'll drive up there for the same activities.

Besides the snow fun, we still heat with wood so I continue to cut wood for the next winter (this year's supply has been in the shed since last year). Other than that, I try to get to the local pool for lap swimming a couple of times each week. I still enjoy swimming laps after all these years and it's a nice change of pace activity for me. And, when all else fails, I still have my basement shop where I can spend some time noodling away on something.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
Halpc, any pics of you and your dog? Man, they love to run!

Bob.

Hi Bob- Here are a few photos- the one in the canoe was from a few years ago when she was a pup. The one in the snow is her on top of 5-6 feet of snow just outside of our kitchen window Last March. The red leaf ones are from last month. She does love to run, especially when it is cold out. It looks like you and Jake have a great relationship. He also looks big!

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Oh boy, I sure love Vizsla pics! Your dog is gorgeous! I think active dogs help us to stay active … I might get lazy and want to be a coach potato, but when I look at Jake giving me the “let’s go explore eyes“, I am motivated to keep moving. Watching dog joy as they romp about makes me want to keep moving.

Jake and I are pretty tight, we do everything together. He is pretty big for a V, he is a solid 65 pounds. He loves working his mind as much as his body. I never get bored with him. Looks like you and your dog do a lot together also … awesome!

Thanks for the pics, she is a great looking dog!

Bob.
 
I used to xc ski and telemark ski on lift served hills. Big ones, like all of the ski hills in Colorado with three pins and leather boots. It took strong quadraceps to do it. Sometimes we camped over night. A little snow shoeing.

Alas, now I am not as strong at 73 and have a lot metal on my right side. I do not want to fall on the bolt in my hip. I have given up skiing. I like day hiking in the local mountains. There is no one out there. Trips to Death Valley are a chance fto escape from winter conditions. Sometimes we go over the Sierra to milder climates over in Ca. I usually quit camping in late Nov and start up in March except for the low desert when winter is the best time to be out there.

I have done only one winter canoe trip. The Lower Colorado from Blythe, CA to Yuma, AZ. It was unseasonably cold in Feb. Not much daylight and hard to find wood for a fire, but it was quiet. Beaver, otter, wild donkeys, the coyote choir and lots of owls.
 
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