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Springing Out of Winter

Springing Out of Winter

Springing Out of Winter: How to Make the Most of the Changing Seasons

Although some freakish North American weather might convince us otherwise, it is nearing the time when we winter sports lovers make our “lasts” of the season. Last run down our favorite trail, last snowshoe to our favorite wooded lake, last cross country ski up to that frosty vista from which the pressures of everyday life appears distant. It is about time to rub summer wax over our skis, try for the umpteenth time to organize poles, boots and bits in a way that doesn’t always collapse into a heap of frustration, and shelf activity while dusting off another.

All told, the transition from the snowy trails and chilly mornings of winter to the grass shoots and warm breezes of early spring is a bittersweet one for Snowsport lovers. Goodbyes are hard, especially if a season of unpredictable weather left some ski, snowshoe, or fat biking goals unaccomplished. But, as somebody once said, ‘it’s never goodbye, just see you later.’ In that spirit, let’s consider some reasons we can get excited about spring, even if deep down we cannot wait to get back on snow.

It feels good

There is something about a warm breeze that just fills up your spirit—and that is not just a feeling. Studies have shown that the warm air can lessen the effects of depression, reduce the likelihood of illness, and deliver more clean, unpolluted oxygen to your lungs than winter air can. Of course, all these benefits can quickly turn into risks as the air around us goes from warm to hot. Given the frequent heat waves and even heat “domes” of recent years, we are all too familiar with the risks of heat stroke, and the lethargy that comes with being too hot. But this is all the more reason to embrace the in-between temperatures of spring! In terms of temperature and comfort, it is really the goldilocks season.

A time for adventure

My favorite part of spring was always rediscovering the green side of the woods and trails around my house. Although I would always ski and snowshoe during the winter, snow has a way of making you forget what a landscape looks like underneath. It is always a beautiful surprise, then, to realize once more how beautiful and interesting landscapes are with all their shrubbery, rocks, fallen logs and the like. If you are a mountain biker or a trail runner, these are all features that can make a spring ride or run extra exciting.

A fresh start

Not only is spring the perfect time to rediscover your favorite natural areas, it is also a great time to find new trails, and perhaps new ways of enjoying them! Use the beginning of spring as a reset, when you can wipe the slate of past seasons clean and decide on a new activity schedule, a new passion, and, perhaps most importantly, new goals. Now, these goals don’t have to be competition oriented. Sometimes I set myself a goal of just finding three cool new views a week! The point is that the total change in scenery that arrives with spring offers a chance to reevaluate priorities and get into a new groove. Consider joining a running or biking club or finding some friends to go walking or hiking with. By starting to wedge in few new outings here and there in the spring, you will have a whole slate of healthy and fun habits ready to carry you through summer.


Rehab, Repair, Prepare

Of course, you might go into spring with a few lingering aches and pains from your winter activities. If this is the case, then take the opportunity to do activities that feel good. Perhaps this is yoga (maybe even outdoor yoga!) or daily walk or some cross training to balance out over- or under-worked muscles.

If there were parts of your winter activity routine that were extra difficult, consider finding a warm-weather analog that can help you train! If you’re a skier, maybe this spring is the time to look into roller skis; if you’re a fat biker, you might make the natural transition to mountain biking; if you took to snowshoeing, then perhaps hiking is a good way to work the same muscles and get into a similar flow.

On the other hand, it can also be healthy to surprise your body and mind with new and different movements.

For this reason, many skiers take to biking or running in the warmer months, and some winter athletes might get into swimming or rowing in their off-season. These activities keep you in shape while keeping you on your toes by forcing your mind and muscles to continue learning.

And this is really the point: to take the change of seasons as an opportunity to restart and renew, rather than considering it only as the end of winter. Beginnings, like endings, are hard; but new activities and ways of enjoying the outdoors are worth the effort it takes to start. Since winter doesn’t roll around for another eight months, coming up with a plan for how you’re going to have fun in this year’s warm weather will pay for itself again and again.

About The Author

Pete Wilson

Pete is a Vermont native with a lifelong love of being outside. Ever since he bushwhacked a ski trail through his parents’ property, he’s been hooked on getting into the woods--whether it’s on skis or snowshoes, or going out for a trail run or a long hike. He studied English at Carleton College, and now after four years in Minnesota is back in the Green Mountains exploring the endlessly beautiful and intriguing locales across the Northeast.


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