Here at Beaver Creek Reserve, we look forward to every season. Spring flowers, summer camps, fall festivities, but for many of us, we especially get excited for winter! From making your own snowshoes, to learning how to cross-country ski, riding a dogsled for the first time, or even snowshoeing the trails lit only by candlelight—winter offers endless opportunities for people to get outside. For others, they dread that first snowfall. Many people despise winter because of the colder temperatures, countless snowstorms, and longer nights. But what about the exciting things about winter? The ability to track wildlife in the snow, playing in the fresh powder, seeing the glistening trees after a snowfall, getting outside and trying a new winter activity, and so much more! Beaver Creek Reserve offers various opportunities for everyone to get outside and enjoy the chilly season. Here are some fun activities to help you get outside this winter:
1. Try snowshoeing – Whether that’s on Beaver Creek’s trails, at your family’s cabin, or a local park, an easy way to trudge through the snow is with snowshoes. And the best part: no previous experience is needed! At the Reserve, we don’t just snowshoe during the day, our favorite is getting out after dark as candles and moonlight illuminate the trails. Sign up for our Candlelight Snowshoe Hikes to experience the wonders of nature at night and finish with a warm campfire under the stars. We rent snowshoes everyday as long as there is enough snow.
2. Now you’ve tried snowshoeing, time to make your own snowshoes – Learn how to make your own pair of traditional, wooden snowshoes in our two-day workshop. Choose from one of three styles of snowshoes: Green Mountain bear paw, Alaskan trail or the all-purpose Ojibwa style. This course includes learning the history of snowshoes, how to lace them, and how to care for them after the course is over.
3. Cross-country ski – There are a variety of places in the Chippewa Valley that offer cross-country skiing, but at Beaver Creek Reserve, we have over 4 miles of trails for various skill levels. Never cross-country skied before but excited to learn? Look no further! We also offer Intro to Cross-Country Ski classes throughout the winter to teach folks some basic skills. From learning how to pick the right size of ski, to putting on and taking them off, to learning how to get back up after you fall— this course will teach every entry level skier the basics of the sport. We also rent skis and ski boots everyday as long as there is enough snow.
4. Ride a dogsled – The past few years, Beaver Creek Reserve has offered dogsledding rides to spotlight one of the less common winter activities we get to experience here in the Chippewa Valley. Register ahead of time to reserve yourself a ride!
5. Learn about winter phenology – Want to discover what is hiding in nature during the wintertime? Find different types of animal signs in and around the snow. Learn about wildlife tracking and what other critters are up to this time of year. Or you can test your tree identification knowledge and learn how to identify our forest friends without their biggest indicator, their leaves!
Still haven’t won you over yet? Well studies show that spending time outdoors can help improve a person’s mental and physical health, too. Finding enjoyable ways to spend time outside in the cooler season, when many people find it hard to do, can be extremely beneficial to one’s well-being.
Alright, so now you’re starting to see what makes winter so wonderful, but there are still a few things to keep in mind if you plan on taking your love for the season to the next level. To be a winter professional, your biggest takeaway is to always dress for the weather! It is best to layer as much as possible because you can always take off layers when you get too warm. Drink plenty of water! Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean you don’t need to be hydrated. Lastly, wear sunscreen. The sun’s rays are just as powerful when they are reflecting off the snow, so protect your skin during your winter adventures. Just remember, one can never be “too” prepared.
Since here in Wisconsin there will always be winter… if you can’t beat it, join it! Take advantage of the colder temperatures and fresh snowfalls, and turn winter into your favorite season. Find something you enjoy so you can look forward to it every year.