We recently had our first snow of the winter and now my city is under a blanket of white. Snow sure makes everything more beautiful (except the roads and my car). Many people take advantage of winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, but these activities can come with quite a hefty price tag. If you are budget conscious and don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a ski weekend, here are some ways you can enjoy your city’s snow (if you have any) for little money.
Snow Clothes: The wonderful thing about snow clothes is that they really don’t need to be fashionable – or even match for that matter. There may be highly fashion conscious people out there who want to match everything, but for me, I honestly don’t care what my snow clothes look like, as long as they keep me warm and dry. I’ve never felt very attractive in a marshmallow-like ensemble of snow clothes anyhow. So with that, a great place to get your snow pants, boots, mittens, hats, etc. is at a thrift store. Goodwill, Value Village, Salvation Army – they are all bound to have a snow section where you can get your gear for next to nothing. For online shopping, try e-bay or craigslist. If you really don’t like the idea of wearing used clothes, you can also check out sporting goods stores after winter when they are trying to get rid of their clothes and are therefore clearancing them out.
Sledding: Get back in touch with the kid inside of you and try sledding. All you need to buy is a sled and then go find a free snowy hill (that does not dump you into a busy intersection). As with the clothes above, try thrift stores or take a stab at making your own. Sledding is a lot of fun and can be good exercise (since you aren’t paying for a lift ticket, you have to do the work of dragging something up the hill yourself). You can have hours of fun playing with your kids and if you do so you’ll look less silly than an adult sledding by themselves.
Innertubing: Ditto on the above for sledding. Innertubes are not very expensive and are fun paired with a snowy hill. Check your local tire store or even online since shipping would be cheaper for an innertube not yet filled with air than for a sled. You can also try places like Wal-Mart or Kmart at the end of summer for pool innertubes. You can sometimes get them for less than $5. They might not last as long as the rubber ones, but they are cheaper so you can buy more. And more innertubes means less sharing problems with the kids.
Snow Angels and Snowmen: Who can forget the classic snow activities that children have been doing for years? A fresh snow is a blank canvas only limited to your imagination. You can build a snowman and even dress him in your clothes. You can build a snow-woman for him as well. Perhaps a snow dog or cat and some snow kids. Or you could build a snow fort or a snow city. If you find a neighbor who would like to join in the fun you could both build bunkers and have a snowball fight. Like I said, the sky’s the limit (well the temperature will be a limit too).
Snowshoeing: For those not as interested in playing with the snow, you could try snowshoeing. For only the minimal cost of buying snowshoes, or even renting them, you can go explore a winter wonderland while getting a workout and not having to worry about ending up on your butt. I have personally never been snowshoeing, but I have talked with people who really enjoy it as a winter activity. It can give you a great opportunity to do some sight seeing and picture taking in the snow without whizzing by everything like you would do downhill skiing or snowboarding.
Cross Country Skiing: Similar to snowshoeing, you can buy or rent skis to take in the scenery and get some exercise. The nice part about this kind of skiing is that you don’t have to purchase a lift ticket and you can pretty much do it anywhere there is snow. That means no crowds and no fear of a snowboarder knocking you over at 70 mph. Plus it’s easier to stop.
Sightseeing: As I mentioned with snowshoeing and cross country skiing, the snow scene is definitely a beautiful one. But you don’t have to be out on the snow with special gear in order to enjoy it. All you need are some warm clothes and perhaps a 4 wheel drive vehicle, although that is not necessary if you decide to stay on plowed roads. I would recommend taking a camera with you to capture the beauty. Or if you are an artist, bring some paper and pencils or watercolors and use the scenery as inspiration. The nice thing about this is you can go home and frame your picture or art and use it as winter decoration in your home. Then it’s almost as if you’re bringing the snow landscape inside your house (without the cold).
These are just some of the ways you can enjoy the snow for little or no money. I’m sure there are many more ways to take advantage of the white stuff and here’s where your creativity can come in handy. Some of these ideas are great for kids if you have them because it will get them out of the house and outside doing something fun as well as wear them out so they will sleep longer. And if you don’t have any kids but would like to do some kid-friendly activities, you can always borrow a niece or nephew or neighbor’s kid. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding a kid who wants to play in the snow!
Image courtesy of StarrGazr