It is winter and I do live in Maine so there is lots of snow and ice. I’m sure other people live in places like this. It’s either hibernate until spring or pull on your boots and head outside. The daylight is short so getting out there even a few minutes can do wonders for your brain chemistry.
Not So Cheap: Skiing
There are several sports one can do that are quite expensive but the main one I think of is skiing. I know this first hand because I was on my high school ski team. You need boots, poles, bindings, skis, long underwear (ok maybe only I need that), snow attire, and some kind of pass to a ski place to partake in the sport. My boots were around $150 (bought new) and I got some used cross country skis and bindings at a local ski sale for $60. I bought the poles for $30 and a pass for the season even at an inexpensive place like Snowrada in Auburn (Maine) or 10th Mountain Ski Club in Fort Kent will run you at least $25. A little less than $300 and I haven’t even put on clothes yet. Don’t get my wrong, I love to ski but it is far from being an affordable sport. Of course, if you take care of the equipment, you can have it for ten years like I have.
Find cross country ski trails (only bigger places though): Cross Country Ski Areas Association
Ice skating is a little cheaper. For $50-$100, you can get a decent pair of skates that are comfortable. And then you just pile on a bunch of clothes and find the nearest pond or rink. We have one in Ellsworth that seems loosely affiliated with the YMCA which is free. The rink I went to as a kid charged a whopping $2 for a day of ice skating and $1 a day for rentals. My friends and I got to skate to blaring 80s music and live our 10-year-old dramas all afternoon for the price of half a movie ticket today. (I think they made their money on the $1 hot chocolates but I digress.) My parents bought me really cool ice skates when it seems like I had stopped growing and, other than sharpening them occasionally, they have been maintenance free since. Yup, I’m still wearing them, even if they are a little retro-looking.
Find your local skating rink (very comprehensive): Arena Maps
By far the cheapest winter sport is sledding. A carpet sled is about $1 but you can invest in a real high tech sled for more. You can also use cookie sheets, trays from your college lunchroom, or your butt in a slippery pair of ski pants. There may be some effort required to scout out a hill
Invest in a snow sled (I had no idea there was such a range): Sleds.com
Of course, I’m ignoring other great winter sports, like snowmobiling, snow shoeing, and curling. I’ll leave those to others who know more about them. Whatever you decide to do, get out there and get some exercise. It’s only winter a few months a year…
By the way, did I mention I’m down four and a half pounds? (That’s right, I’m counting every half!)
Photo: Me pretending I’m good at the local rink