winter ski amp fitnessWinter is officially here and residents of Northeast Ohio know what that means – long, cold dreary days that make us want to hibernate under the covers until the first signs of spring.

The good news is that there are plenty of fun outdoor things to do to keep us busy – and our bodies moving – through the worst of the winter blues. In the next couple of months, we’ll be posting links to outdoor activities offered in Cuyahoga, Summit and Lake counties and a few surrounding communities during January, February and March.

Skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice skating, tubing, tobogganing and sledding – there’s something for everyone, so get outside and enjoy the weather!

Cleveland’s MetroParks cover nearly 23,000 acres of parkland, streams, lakes and wildlife habitats spread across 18 distinct reservations. There are hundreds of activities to choose from during the months of January, February and March. To learn more, visit their Events and Programs calendar.

Summit Metro Parks includes 14 parks, multiple conservation areas and more than 125 miles of trails, including a 34-mile bike and hike trail and 22 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. During the month of January, the park offers free winter fun, including snow art, a cardio hike, a soup hike and snowshoeing. While free, registration is required for some of the activities. Learn more by visiting their activities calendar.

The Akron Zoo offers Cabin Fever Reliever activities on Saturdays during the month of January with crafts, a scavenger hunt and hot chocolate. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is free with admission to the zoo. To learn more, visit the zoo’s website.

If you are looking to go “dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh” then head out Ma and Pa’s Gift Shack in Burton. Every weekend, and on some weekdays, Ma and Pa hitch up the sleighs and take guests out into the woods on an old-fashioned sleigh. When the trip has ended, visitors are welcomed back to Ma and Pa’s 1820s log cabin where they will find various rustic items, such as chainsaw carved bears and log furniture, as well as hot chocolate, maple coffee and cookies baked by Ma herself!

Reservations are required by calling 440-548-5521. For more information, visit Ma & Pa’s website.

If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, then you may want to take a ride down a 700-foot ice chute at speeds up to 50 miles per hour at the Cleveland Metroparks Chalet toboggan chute in Strongsville. The chute is open Thursdays through Sundays at the Mill Stream Run Reservation. To learn more, visit the park’s website.

There are numerous hills in Northeast Ohio that offer prime sledding opportunities for the entire family; or you can opt to go snow tubing at Alpine Valley in Chesterland. Open Fridays through Sundays, snow tubing sessions include the use of snow tubes and access to handle tows to get back to the top of the hill faster. For more information, visit Alpine Valley’s website.

In addition to tubing, Alpine Valley offers a ski area with 11 trails and 72 acres of skiable terrain, as well as a snowboarding park. Alpine Valley’s facilities include a ski school, lounge, clubhouse and ski shop.

The Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort, located in Peninsula, features the steepest ski slope in Ohio, snowboarding and snow tubing, a large clubhouse with food service, and a large fireplace. The ski resort features a new 48,000-square-foot base lodge at the Brandywine Ski Area. For more information, visit their website.

If hitting the slopes does not appeal to you, consider cross-country skiing, which is available within the Cleveland MetroParks, Lake MetroParks, Summit Metro Parks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Cross-country ski rentals are available at the Pine Lodge Ski Center in Kirtland, the Big Met Golf Course in Rocky River, and the Kendall Lake Winter Sports Center in Peninsula.

The Cleveland/Akron area has three outdoor skating arenas: The Rink at Wade Oval in Cleveland, Lock 3 in downtown Akron and the Ice Rink at Falls River Square in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

Strap on some snowshoes and go explore at Lake MetroParks Chapin Forest and Penitentiary Glen, Cuyahoga Valley National Park or the Cleveland MetroParks. Don’t have a pair of snowshoes? No problem – all three parks rent snowshoes.

Finally, if you are just looking for a quiet walk on a winter’s day, there are numerous trails at the Cleveland MetroParks, Lake MetroParks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Holden Arboretum. TrekOhio’s website offers a listing of winter hikes by region.

(Photo courtesy of imgkid.com)

January 2, 2018 admin , ,